One year ago on this day, September 13, 2022, 224 servicemen died to protect the borders of the motherland. At midnight, the Azerbaijani side attacked the border settlements of Syunik, Vayots Dzor and Gegharkunik regions. For about two hours, the Ministry of Defense did not provide any information: the public received news about the situation from the Facebook posts of residents of the border settlements.

“On September 13, starting at 00:05, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened intense fire from artillery and large-caliber rifles in the direction of Armenian positions towards Goris, Sotk and Jermuk,” the Ministry of Defense published the first information at 01:00.

Despite the fact that the spokesman of the Ministry of Defense began to give information about the positional battles regularly, the names of the men who died for the motherland were not officially published. It should be noted that visited the families of several dozen boys and covered their exploits.

On September 30, 2022, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, answering the question why the names of the victims of the latest Azerbaijani aggression are not published, gave a puzzling answer. “Taking into account the experience of the 44-day war, we have come to the conclusion that it is correct to publish the names of the victims through an institutionally planned mechanism. It is the list recorded in the Military Security Fund: the names are published there. The full names of the victims of the 44-day war were also published there. We think that the institutional approach should be like that. But not publishing the list of victims does not mean that it is kept secret. Naturally, the families of the identified victims are informed, and it is also their choice… that is, the names are there, they are published,” Pashinyan stated.

This statement of the head of Armenia was considered very worrying by the human rights defenders who are engaged in the protection of the rights of servicemen. According to their assessment, it turns out that the soldier is not valued by the Prime Minister, because their names are not published in the context of the feat they performed.

It should be noted that the fighting continued throughout the night. The Azerbaijani side intensively used various artillery means, large-caliber rifles and anti-aircraft missiles, targeting not only military but also civil infrastructures. The tourist town of Jermuk was targeted.

During these military operations, captured were also servicemen, 11 of whom were killed in captivity. Many of the 17 servicemen who returned from captivity told exclusive details of the combat operations. They noted that the retreat order was not given on time. The soldiers, did not change their location as necessary; they were targeted by the enemy, because of which they were killed or captured.

“We fought against unmanned aerial vehicles with automatic weapons: fire fell from the sky, we only had automatic weapons, what were we supposed to do with them? … We were exhausted, no help came to us. We were dugging a trench during the day and fighting against the enemy at night,” they said in a conversation with

The soldiers were treated indifferently by the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces and the upper echelons of the government. They have not seen any support. “Help did not come to our direction, for us. Many drones came from the stars, we had only automatic weapons. The positions were given away, and the soldiers were given away after them,” said one of the servicemen after returning from captivity.

As a result of the inaction of the Ministry of Defense, some servicemen were also captured after the cease-fire announced on September 14, in the Jermuk suburbs. “We were attacked at four kilometers from the city of Jermuk, on the morning of September 15. The buildings, the windows, everything was visible: there were the forest and Jermuk.”

And what has changed today in the border settlements of Armenia, after the hostile invasions that took place in 2021, 2022, 2023? spoke with Khachatur Baghdasaryan, head of Nerkin Hand of Syunik region. He told us that there is no positive change.

  • Baghdasaryan, what was happening a year ago and what is the situation now?
  • There was a war a year ago: they took the land and cut off the water. The situation remains the same, nothing has changed. The entire village is being watched from their side. They are very close to us: their position is 250 meters away from us.
  • And is it safe to move around the village?
  • Well, if it is watched, you can see with the naked eye, is it not dangerous?
  • How much territory did they occupy from Nerqin Hand?
  • Some was taken, and some was left in between positions. All arable lands, pastures… about 250 hectares. We cannot and do not do agricultural work, we do not cultivate land, we do not keep livestock.

Nerqin Hand has 55 inhabitants: the head of the community said that no one left the village due to security problems.

Narek Kirakosyan

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