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Trdat Musheghyan

2020 Artsakh War: Azerbaijani Troops Kill Elderly Hadrut Couple

Serzhik and Ella Vardanyan never made it out of Hadrut before Azerbaijani troops captured the southern Artsakh town in October 2020.

The couple, both pensioners, were waiting for a car to pick them up and take them to safety, but Azerbaijani troops had advanced too close to the town. Their house was under direct fire.

On October 10, Azerbaijani troops captured Hadrut and shot 71-year-old Serzhik Vardanyan and 68-year-old Ella Vardanyan to death.

Nver, the couple’s son, told Hetq that his father, a diabetic, was confined to a wheelchair after his leg was amputated because of gangrene. His mother had heart disease.

Never said his father underwent hernia surgery in Stepanakert a few days before the start of the 2020 war. After picking up his father and returning his to Hadrut on September 28, Nver left for the frontline as a reservist soldier.

Wounded on October 6, Nver was hospitalized at the Jabrayil Military Hospital and then in Stepanakert.

Hadrut Mayor Vahan Savadyan told Hetq that he telephoned Ella Vardanyan on October 8, saying that he was sending a car and they should get ready to leave the city.

“She said they needed more time to prepare and that they’d call me. I called again the next day and she said to send the car on the tenth. Who knew what was to happen? The house was near the gorge, and the Turks had entered from that side," Savadyan

The mayor was wounded on October 10 and evacuated along with the other Hadrut residents.

Nver Vardanyan says that after the ceasefire, emergency workers and Russian peacekeepers didn’t find his parents’ remains. Nver asked to be allowed to participate in the search. 

On January 4, 2021, he went to Hadrut with the rescue team. 

Serzhik Vardanyan's body, with a gunshot wound to the chest, was found in the yard of the family house.  Ella Vardanyan’s body, also with a gunshot wound to the chest, was found in the yard of a neighbor’s house. That neighbor, Elena Hakobyan, had also been shot to death.

Serzhik and Ella Vardanyan were buried in Stepanakert on January 18, 2021.

Top photo: Hadrut, Oct. 10, 2020/ © Hetq

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