“This year, we received our child as New Year’s gift”: The mother who received her son’s body on December 31

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When Poghos Baghdasaryan from the village of Katnaghbyur in the Talin region turned 18, decided to go to the army not for two, but for three whole years, under the “I am” program of the RA Ministry of Defense. Three months before his demobilization, he was killed in a blockade in Hadrut while organizing his wounded comrades-in-arms’ safe retreat.

Poghos Baghdasaryan, 21, did not tell his family that during the war he first moved from his military unit in Askeran to Martuni, then to Hadrut and took part in the fiercest battles. During the last telephone conversation, he said that everything was fine, was calm, he was not in any danger, then, when his mother asked what were that noise and shots she heard, he said. “Mom dear, it’s not shots; it was my stomach.”

“We talked to the child every day. The last call was on October 15. He called, said two words, I’m fine, everything is fine, will call later. And there was no call. [October] 16, 17 passed. At 18th, we were already worried, we called… and right then they said that Poghos has died. We did not want to believe that our child was gone. We searched for him for two months. The news came on December 29 and he was brought home on December 31. Last year, he was at home on New Year’s Eve. This year, we received our child as New Year’s gift,” says the mother, Kristine Asatryan.

The uncle of the boy, Hamazasp Baghdasaryan mentions that although they did not know the details, they were convinced that his nephew was in the hottest spots of the war. “It was clear because he loved military affairs and had convinced his family that he should definitely go to serve for three years, not two.”

The surviving comrades-in-arms told the family about what happened to Poghos.

“Thirty-five of our soldiers were in that area, in Hadrut. Their commander was wounded and taken to hospital. After that, Poghos with his comrades-in-arms, five men, led thirty-five people that were there. The enemy forces were too many, the guys defended themselves. Poghos, with five men, manages to keep the enemy so that the others could retreat and survive. “The boys who came back from the war say that Poghos and the others who were with them were killed in front of their eyes,” said the uncle of the killed soldier.

After the end of the war, many attempts were made to find the remains of Poghos and his comrades-in-arms, but to no avail. They were found on December 27, 2020 only, when one of Poghos’s comrades-in-arms joined the search with the Red Cross.

The family of the deceased soldier wsa given all the items found in his pockets: the military ID, a cross, a notebook, photos, coins, etc. Carefully separating and examining the contents of Paul’s pocket, the relatives found that he had 38 icons on him throughout the war.

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