“They took my child to the army and never returned:” Mother of a tanker

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“They took my child to the army and never returned,” says Lilit Chatinyan, the mother of Erik Hajikyan, who was immortalized in the 44-day war. She consoles herself with memories of her son’s exploits.

Erik Hajoyan was a tanker; he fought in the hot spots of the war.

In the first days of the war, Eric and his friends received an order to destroy the military equipment accumulated by the enemy in the direction of Jrakan (Jebrayil). The family members said that Eric and his fellow soldiers completed the combat task with only seven tanks. They fought for 40 minutes without infantry, destroyed four enemy tanks and half of the 1000-strong infantry. The enemy retreated, after which the Armenian side collected the weapons left by them.

Erik Hajikyan went to the front on September 30, immediately after returning from the “Caucasus 2020” military exercise in Russia.

“My Erik returned on September 30. The children were brought back secretly and immediately taken to Jebrayil, to a meat grinder. Although they never complained, they participated in hot classes, very hot,” says the mother and continues.

Eric met his parents for the last time that day at the airport for 30 minutes. “It was our last meeting, last picture, last kiss. I looked at the children when they were being put on the bus, they were not upset, but now that I look back, they were a bit confused: maybe they knew where they were going, and we sent them off.”

The days of the war were doubly difficult for Hajikians. The two sons were at the frontline. Eric and Edik fought against the enemy at a short distance from each other. On October 15, both of Edik’s legs were injured by an anti-aircraft fire and he was taken to Khndzoresk hospital.

“We called Eric and told him that Edik was injured, he was very happy. “It’s good, Mom, Edik was saved,” says the mother, who understood only after seeing what was happening in Goris why the fact of his brother being injured made Eric happy.

The last time Eric’s parents spoke to him on the phone was on the morning of October 16, on the road to Khndzoresk. “An hour and a half later, we learned that Eric’s tank was hit. It was terrible, and it is still terrible today. So, we went and brought our child. Edik and I returned to Vanadzor on the morning of the 17th of the month and they brought my child.”

Eric’s tank was shot down by Azerbaijani drones in the outskirts of Ishkhanadzor.

Lilit Chatinyan states that her son was killed as a result of an unorganized war. When they left for Khndzoresk, they witnessed situations contrary to the logic of “We will win!”. Panicked citizens and injured and overtired servicemen…

“Erik’s tank was damaged as well, so he went and took out the injured boy and brought him. He said, ‘It’s okay, at least I’ll put the boy on it and bring him back.’ Eric has done such things that I knew and could not imagine… He did a hero’s act, not every person would go to collect a dead body, he would not let them drive over the dead body. At that moment, they could have hit him too,” says the mother.

Erik Hajikyan was from Vanadzor. He studied engineering at the American University of Armenia. He went to the army leaving his studies in the 2nd year. “We sent off to the army in high spirits as much as possible, we sent off happily,” recalls his mother.

Eric had a special attitude towards education. “He asked the platoon commander to allow him to read a book while watching TV. The commander was surprised. He asked, “What are you reading?” He answered, “English books.” The commander was even more surprised,” says the mother.

Eric practiced karate. He achieved up to black belt. In the room, along with a military uniform, an armory and other things, there are dozens of medals that he received abroad. One of them was specially won on the occasion of his mother’s birthday.

For his services to the homeland, Erik Hajikyan was awarded the 2nd degree “Combat Cross” and the Combat Service Medal.

Relatives also shared their memories of Erik Hajikyan; the details are in the video.

Narek Kirakosyan