Costa Rica Police Arrest Two Gunmen to End Russian Embassy Standoff

Two men walked out of the Russian Embassy in Costa Rica on Friday under police escort, ending a three-hour standoff with police and the ambassador.

The episode raised fears of a hostage situation with authorities initially saying that a gunman had taken eight hostages.

But Russian Ambassador Valery Nikolayenko told Channel 7 Telenoticias by telephone later that there were no hostages. He said that two people seized part of the embassy and several officials inside tried to convince them to leave.

Immigration spokeswoman Heidi Bonilla told The Associated Press that one of the men in the standoff was Roman Bogdanyans, a 20-year-old Kazakhstan native who arrived in Costa Rica in 2005. Police earlier had described him as being from Uzbekistan.

A family friend, Artur Mitiniani, told Channel 7 that the family had lost $54,000 because of problems with a Russian citizen who Bogdanyans met at the embassy.

Authorities said hostage negotiators had talked with the suspect, and police had surrounded the four-story building, located near several other embassies.

In July 2004, a Costa Rican security guard took several hostages at the Chilean Embassy where he worked in San Jose, eventually killing himself and three embassy employees. The guard, Orlando Jimenez, 54, was upset about a pending transfer.