Russian soldier in Armenia detained in mass killing of local family

RIA Novosti/Igor Zarembo
A Russian soldier suspected of killing six members of in the same family in Armenia and wounding a seventh, an infant boy, has been detained on the Turkish border. The serviceman from Russia’s 102 Military Base went AWOL with his weapons Monday morning.

Six family members, including a two-year-old girl, were shot dead in Armenia’s second-largest city of Gyumri on Monday at about midday. The family’s only survivor, a six-month-old boy, was operated on for gunshot wounds in the chest and is currently in a stable yet serious condition, Interfax reported.

A criminal case has been launched, and serviceman Valery Permyakov, from a Russian military base in Gyumri, is suspected of the murders, as boots bearing his name were found in the house of the murdered family.

"In the house of the slain Avetisyan family, investigators found military boots, marked on the inside with the name Valery Permyakov, who serves at a Russian military base. The murder was committed with an AK-74," Sona Truzyan, an official at Armenia's Investigative Committee, told Interfax.

Earlier on Monday, at 6 am it was discovered that an armed serviceman was absent from his post, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that a search for the man was under way.

Investigators believe that the killings most likely arose in connection with a crime of passion, RIA Novosti reported.

The Russian Embassy in Armenia has expressed its condolences, saying in a statement that the two countries are working together on the case. Russian officials are providing all the necessary assistance to solve the crime as soon as possible, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told his Armenian counterpart, Eduard Nalbandyan.