A man armed with an axe took six children hostage in an apartment, foreign media reports.

Armed police were dispatched to the scene in the Kolpino suburb of St. Petersburg, Russia, after receiving a call from his wife at 9.12am local time.

The Interior Ministry said "her husband had kicked her out from the flat, had locked himself in there and was holding their six children".

The 42-year-old reportedly put forward a series of demands and threatened to kill all the children, aged between three and 15.

He later surrendered himself to police and the operation was declared over.

No injuries were reported and the children were taken from the scene.

Emergency services at the scene in St Petersburg, Russia

The man, believed to be a security guard, may also have been carrying a firearm.

Authorities told Russian media that he has no previous criminal convictions.

Dramatic pictures showed ambulances and police officers converging outside the apartment.

The 42-year-old reportedly put forward a series of demands
The man, believed to be a security guard, may also have been carrying a firearm

Last month, police in Georgia began a manhunt for a gunman who took 43 hostages during a bank robbery and disappeared after releasing them.

The masked man, wearing a military uniform, stormed into a bank in the town of Zugdidi in western Georgia on October 21 and demanded $500,000 (£385,000).

Negotiations between the gunman and police in the former Soviet republic continued into the late evening.

He later surrendered himself to police and the operation was declared over

Hostages were released gradually during the day and most were freed in the evening after he was paid a ransom.

The gunman left the bank with four hostages, including the head of the local police department who was acting as a negotiator and had brought the payment.

A few hours later, the gunman released the remaining hostages and escaped.

The interior ministry said in a statement: "Law enforcers continue intensive operative-investigative and search activities in order to arrest the assailant."