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Police said on February 23 that an Armenian serving with a Russian border guard unit in the city of Gyumri has gone missing.

Armenian police said that Artur Afian, a 26-year-old serving under a contract with the Russian border guards, has been missing since February 21.

They said he was given permission to leave his unit and visit relatives in a village near Gyumri but never showed up. He was unarmed.

Gyumri is the site of Russia’s military base in Armenia, Moscow’s main foothold in the strategic South Caucasus.

A private from the base, Valery Permyakov, is accused of murdering seven members of an Armenian family in Gyumri on January 12.

The killings sparked large protests by Armenians demanding Permyakov be handed to their country for trial.

But Permyakov is in custody at the Russian base and will be tried there.

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