Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised a swift investigation and appropriate punishment for the massacre of six members of a single family near Russia's military base in Armenia.
But accounts of Putin's telephone conversation with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on January 18 gave no indication that Moscow would transfer the Russian soldier authorities say has confessed to the killings into Armenian custody.
The massacre in the city of Gyumri sparked large protests last week by Armenians who demanded that Private Valery Permyakov face trial in an Armenian court.
A Kremlin statement said Putin expressed condolences to the relatives of the victims and told Sarkisian that Russian doctors would help treat a 6-month-old boy who was the sole surivivor of the attack last week.
Putin told Sarkisian that the investigation would be carried out "in the swiftest period of time and the guilty will be punished in accordance with the law."
The killings are testing ties between Russia and Armenia, which has just joined the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union and hosts the base that is Moscow's biggest foothold in the strategic South Caucasus.