Armenia detains Russian soldier suspected of slaying family

Armenia detains Russian soldier suspected of slaying family
A Russian border guard inspects a truck as it enters Russia at a border crossing.

YEREVAN - A Russian soldier accused of slaughtering six members of the same family in the tiny Caucasus nation of Armenia has been detained, investigators in the former Soviet state said Tuesday.

Soldier Valery Permyakov allegedly gunned down the family members in a bloody shooting spree Monday before disappearing from a Russian military base where he was stationed in the Armenian city of Gyumri, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of the capital Yerevan.

The suspect was detained overnight by Russian border guards patrolling Armenia's frontier with Turkey, a spokeswoman for Armenia's investigative committee told AFP.

Russia is a firm ally of ex-Soviet republic Armenia, basing thousands of troops in the country and assisting it with guarding the nation's borders with Iran and Turkey.

Russia's defence minister Sergei Shoigu on Monday expressed his "profound condolences" over the incident and pledged support for the relatives of the victims.

"Nothing can justify such violence against innocent people," Shoigu said in a statement.

Moscow has set up a special commission to investigate the incident headed by the deputy defence chief, the statement said.

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