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Baby in Armenia family massacre blamed on Russian soldier dies

20 january 2015, 09:54

 A six-month-old Armenian baby boy, the sole survivor from a family of seven apparently gunned down by a deserting Russian soldier, died from his injuries Monday, health officials said, AFP reports.

Seryozha Avetisian, the youngest member of the Avetisian family massacred in their home last Monday in Gyumri, Armenia's second largest city, died at 5 pm, the health ministry said.

The baby boy had been in a grave condition after being stabbed several times after six other members of his family were shot dead at their home close to a Russian army base.

The crime has been blamed on a Russian soldier whose army boots and Kalashnikov rifle were found at the scene.

The suspect, a conscript named Valery Permyakov, has been arrested by a Russian military tribunal and is being held at the base after he was captured at the Armenian border trying to flee to Turkey.

Thousands protested last week in Gyumri and capital Yerevan demanding that Permyakov be handed over to Armenian justice, with the tragedy threatening to become a major thorn in relations between Russia and Armenia, its most loyal ally in the Caucasus.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian expressed his condolences to the relatives of the Avetisians.

"We have lost him despite the continuous efforts of Armenian and Russian doctors," he said in a statement. "A light went out which was the only solace for us after the Gyumri crime."

"We must continue to live and gain just retribution for the pain and the crime that has been committed," he said.

Anticipating a new wave of public anger after the infant's death, Armenia dispatched more police to Gyumri to increase security next to the Russian consulate and the Russian army base No. 102 where Permyakov is being held, local media reported.

Sarkisian spoke about the case with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday and Putin for the first time expressed his condolences for the tragedy.

"The Russian President expressed his assurance that all the investigative procedures will be completed quickly and the perpetrators will be punished," the Kremlin said in a statement.

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