MOSCOW – Twin brothers serving with a Russian army unit just outside Moscow (search) deserted early Thursday, killed two police officers and seized several hostages in an apartment building near Moscow, officials said.
Dmitry and Alexander Oparin fled their garrison in the town of Solnechnogorsk just north of Moscow in the pre-dawn hours Thursday, seizing assault rifles and rounds of ammunition, said a spokesman for the Moscow regional police, who asked not be named.
They killed two police officers who tried to stop them, hijacked a minibus and drove to a private house where they holed up with several hostages, the Russian Defense Ministry (search) said in a statement.
The Interfax news agency reported that the soldiers had seized three hostages.
Police have surrounded the house on the outskirts of the town of Dmitrov, 37 miles north of Moscow.
A general in charge of the military unit where the deserters had served also arrived at the site, the Interfax said.
The brothers had already served 11/2 years of their two-year conscription term, the police spokesman said. They came from the Chelyabinsk region in the Ural Mountains.