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Missing Soldiers’ Parents Protest In Yerevan


Armenia - Parents of soldiers missing in action protest outside the Defense Ministry, Yerevan, September 26, 2022

Parents of Armenian soldiers missing after recent border clashes with Azerbaijani forces rallied outside the Defense Ministry in Yerevan on Monday to demand information about their whereabouts.

The Armenian military has said that at least 207 of its soldiers were killed or went missing during two days of heavy fighting on Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan which broke out late on September 12. It has still not identified them, raising more questions about the official figure certified by the country’s government.

Nor have the authorities given the precise number of soldiers taken prisoner during the hostilities. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian spoke last week of “at least two dozen” such prisoners of war.

The several dozen parents of Armenian army conscripts demonstrating outside the Defense Ministry compound complained about a lack of information about the fate of their sons officially or unofficially listed as missing in action. They were received by a senior military official but came away from the meeting dissatisfied, saying that they were told to keep waiting for news.

One of the protesters, Hayk Antanian, said his son was at an Armenian border post in Syunik province captured by Azerbaijani troops during the September 13-14 fighting. “We haven’t heard from him since then,” said Antanian.

“We went to his military base. None of its commanders would give us any answers,” he told reporters.

Another angry parent, Serzhik Ghazarian, appealed to Defense Minister Suren Papikian. “Mr. Papikian, for 13 days I’ve had no news, no information about my boy and the other boys. What measures are you taking?”

Some of the protesting parents have visited morgues but not found their sons among the bodies of soldiers kept there.

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