Gevorg Karchikyan, a participant in the 44-day war from Gyumri, considers the lack of anti-aircraft defense one of the key reasons for the defeat of the Armenian side.

“On October 2, 15 people were killed by an Bayraktar [combat aerial vehicle] and there were many injuries,” recalls the former conscript soldier and presents an episode of what the lack of air defense led to.

“There was no air defense; if it was there and it was good, this war would have had a different course. When they hit us, our battery was doing a serious operation at that moment, they couldn’t hit us by land, they hit us by air. On October 2, they hit us in Jebrayil, and on the 5th they already reached Kubatlu, and Kubatlu is 100 km away from Jebra’il,” he says.

Gevorg received shrapnel wounds on October 5. He was transferred to the hospital and, following the news, he noticed that the official information did not correspond to reality.

“In the hospital, I heard that they said that Jebrayil is under our control, but I was injured in Kubatli: it was absurd,” he says and emphasizes that Jrakan (Jebrayil) is 100 km away from Vorotan (Kubatlu) and if he and his comrades retreated to Vorotan and were wounded, then it was impossible to bring back Jrakan after a few days.

The war was a surprise for Gevorg and his fellow soldiers. “15-20 days before the war, we came to Jebrayil to pass the examination of the General Military Inspectorate. On the evening of September 25, they gave us an alarm and took us to concentrated areas. On the morning of the 27th, we were woken up by the sounds of explosions. We saw the Jebrayil regiment in the explosions. On the battlefield, we thought that the war would end soon, like the April War, but it was getting hotter and hotter,” he says.

Gevorg and three fellow soldiers were lost on the battlefield on the first day of the war because they were not familiar with the terrain.

The wheel of the Kamaz truck that was supposed to transport us was damaged. From the morning of the 27th to the dawn of the 28th, we were not with the army. Changing the wheel would take a long time, our battery could not wait for us, it had to go ahead. So, three of us remained to change the wheel. Before we changed, our battery was too far away, the communication means did not work. We were forced to move along the road we we were familiar with. We reached a place where there were no people, then we were able to contact, we went to the command post, from where we were escorted to our battery,” he said.

Narek Kirakosyan

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