“He said, ‘I’m not that injured to run away from this battlefield’”

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Pavel Manukyan, a two-month conscript, was killed in Jrakan on the 13th day of the 44-day war. He could have survived today if, after receiving a splinter wound earlier, he did not continue to fight but agreed to be taken to hospital.

The only son of the parents was trained in karate, after the army he was going to get a higher education and become a specialist in the financial market.

Remembering the first day of the war, the grandmother of the dead soldier, Natasha Manukyan says: “Early in the morning, my son and daughter-in-law were sitting outside drinking coffee. We went out too, sat down, my son opened the phone… and turned pale. Mom, he said, the place where my Pavel is, has been struck. My child is no more. Until his call came, until we heard his voice, we thought he was dead… and we were dead too. We heard the voice, we calmed down a bit… We were looking at the lists [of killed soldiers], we wanted to find his last name… There was none, and we were happy, his name was not there and we were happy. Then on the third day he called. “Daddy, I’m fine. Don’t think about me.”

Pavel’s father, Norik, wanted to volunteer and go to the front, but Pavel said on the phone, ‘Dad, what are you going to do? If you come, who will take care of our family?’ With those words, he was letting us know that the situation was really bad, that the children were endangered,” said the soldier’s grandmother. She mentions that no one had the right to take the youg recruits to the front line. “I’m complaining, let everyone know. I am very much against what the Government and the state are doing. What mistakes did they make! Why did they drift my child to positions? We understood that it was war, but our innocent children were just thrown into the fire.”

It is known that Pavel died from an anmanned vehicle strike. At first, he was injured to the cheek, but the injury was not serious.

“The guys who served with him, who survived and then visited us, say that the debris was left in his cheek. The guys told him to get in the car and go to the hospital. Maybe if he went to the hospital, he would be saved. But he did not want to. He pulled out that shard, threw it aside and said, ‘I’m not so badly injured to run away from this battlefield.’ My 18-year-old baby behaved like a hero,” says Natasha. Shortly afterwards, a second ATS hit, killing Pahel on the spot.

He was brought home in a closed coffin. The family still hopes that it may miraculously turn out that Pavel is alive and may one day return home.

Ani Gevorgyan