Russian soldier accused of massacring Armenian family pleads guilty

A photo of a baby boy from the Avetisyan family killed by AWOL Russian soldier in Gyumri as people lay flowers near the Armenian Embassy in Moscow (RIA Novosti/Sergey Kuznetsov)
Russian Pvt. Valery Permyakov who stands accused of the gruesome murder of a family of seven in a northwestern Armenian city, has pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him by law enforcement agencies, Armenia’s Investigative Committee said.

READ MORE: Russian soldier accused of slaughtering family to be tried in Armenia

Permyakov had been serving at Russian military base near Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city, when he deserted his post. On January 12 he stormed the Avetisyan family residence and fatally shot all of the members of the family, including a six month old baby who died of wounds a week later on account of the attack.

After fleeing the scene, Permyakov was detained by Russian border guards while trying to cross the Armenian-Turkish border dressed in civilian clothing. He remains in Russian custody.

Last week, mass protests shook both Gyumri and Yerevan as Armenians demanded that Permyakov face trial in Armenia and that the soldier’s commanders also be held accountable.

Currently, Russian and Armenian authorities are conducting a joint investigation into the incident. Chief of Russia’s Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin is in Gyumri working on the case.

Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Permyakov is to be tried by a Russian court.

“Since he is a citizen of Russia, he is naturally subject to the laws of the Russian Federation and it will be a Russian trial,” Peskov said in an interview with a local Gyumri TV channel adding that “[the] Russian legislature has no mercy for such monstrous crimes.”

Earlier Bastrykin said that Permyakov will be publicly tried in Armenia. The two statements do not contradict one other as he can be tried on Armenian territory by Russian judges under the Russian laws and could serve his term in a Russian prison.