Police Look For Missing 2-Year-Old

City police are investigating the disappearance of a 2-year-old girl who authorities believe may have been taken from her nanny by her father, a French citizen, police said Tuesday.

Two men approached the girl and her nanny Monday morning while they were walking on Flotskaya Ulitsa, near Rechnoi Vokzal metro station in northern Moscow, and took the girl away, a police spokeswoman said.

"The nanny called the police and the girl's mother, but she was at Sheremetyevo Airport," she said. "One of the men told the nanny not to worry, that he was the girl's father."

The police spokeswoman said she could not give further details, citing the ongoing probe into the incident. But a city police source told RIA-Novosti on Tuesday evening that authorities are holding off on opening a criminal case until the girl is found and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance are explained.

The French father and his Russian wife are currently in a custody battle over the girl, and in the meantime the father has a right to be with his child, the source said. "Transportation police are looking for the man and the child and bringing them in to clarify the circumstances," the source told RIA-Novosti.

In an interview on Rossia television Monday evening, a spokeswoman for the Moscow branch of the Investigative Committee identified the father as Jean-Michel Andre.

"Under Russian law, he cannot be a kidnapper [if he is the father], and questions surrounding interaction with the child and where the child lives will be decided by a court," spokeswoman Viktoria Tsyplenkova said.

Komsomolskaya Pravda on Tuesday identified the mother as Irena Belenkaya. Andre divorced Belenkaya after she gave birth to their daughter in France, and the mother fled to Russia with the child after he demanded that his daughter remain with him in France, KP reported.

The French Embassy in Moscow said Tuesday that it was aware of the case but that it could not provide immediate comment.