Armenian police have launched a nationwide manhunt for a Russian soldier suspected of shooting dead a family of six.

Police said the soldier, Valery Permyakov, who was serving at a Russian military base in Armenia, had deserted from his unit and was suspected of killing the family at their home in the city of Gyumri early Monday. The only family member to survive the massacre was a 6-month-old baby, who suffered stab wounds.

A Kalashnikov assault rifle was found at the victims' home along with the suspect's military boots bearing his name.

Armenian President Serge Sarkisian chaired a meeting to discuss the crime that shocked the ex-Soviet nation. There was no immediate comment from the Russian military, but Sarkisian's office said the Russian military base was cooperating with the investigation.