Two teenage boys were killed on Sunday in what officials believe was an explosion of a landmine at an outdoor shooting range used by Russian troops stationed in Armenia.
The boys aged 12 and 15 were residents of Vahramaberd village in the northwestern Shirak. The village is adjacent to the 1,000 hectare facility belonging to the Russian military base headquartered in the nearby city of Gyumri.
Armenian law-enforcement officials as well Russian military investigators rushed to the scene shortly after the blast. They made no official statements about its likely causes as of Monday evening.
Aghvan Martirosian, the Vahramaberd mayor, suggested that the boys accidentally detonated a landmine. “They played with it, hit it against a stone, and that’s what probably caused the blast,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “They probably thought that it’s a piece of aluminum.”
According to Martirosian, Russian troops warn Vahramaberd residents not to enter the shooting range before holding frequent exercises there involving live gunfire. Their most recent drills ended last Friday, he said, adding that villagers often graze their cattle there after such training sessions.