- Happy birthday, dad! Your son is going to serve at the border…
This was the last phone conversation Junior Sergeant Robert Abajyan, nicknamed “Kyazh” for his fair hair, had with his father on April 1 before hurrying off to continue service at the borders.
For exceptional bravery, displayed during service at the state borders of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Commander of the 2nd subdivision of the 4th infantry company at N military unit of NKR Defense Army, Junior Sergeant Robert Abajyan was posthumously awarded the rank of Hero of Artsakh and Voske Artsiv (Golden Eagle) order.
19-year-old Robert Abajyan, having served for 15 months, was the first Junior Sergeant to be awarded that rank.
Azerbaijan Army, which outnumbered the Artsakh forces, made two attacks at the military point where Robert Abajyan was stationed. He was defending it together with Captain Armenak Urfanyan and gunners Kyaram Sloyan and Andranik Zohrabyan. They had fought for two hours, giving their last breath and bullets to protect that piece of land, and became the heroes who closed the door to Martakert before the rival forces and didn’t let them reach Seysulan.
“We were in Moscow when we heard from Armenia early in the morning that the war broke out, so we went to the church and lit candles, then left for Armenia. We didn’t manage to speak with Robert again. We were told that he had a leg wound and was taken to hospital. There were rumors that some soldiers ran off the battle field. Whenever I tried to hope that Robert was among them, I would imagine his anger at my thoughts, and I knew that he would die but never run from the fight,” said Anna, the hero’s mother.
Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened artillery fire at their military point, and then sent tanks and groups of around 300 soldiers. Subdivision Commander and his six soldiers took to all-around defense. The 7-man staff of the military point successfully thwarted two attempts to take the position. They managed to down one rival tank. Met with such fierce defense, Azerbaijani Armed Forces drew back the attack groups and continued artillery fire. Captain Armenak Urfanyan and gunner Kyaram Sloyan were killed by one of the shells. Earlier Captain, seeing that the rival forces outnumbered them by more than fifty times, ordered the staff to retreat, and three servicemen managed to get to the rear and wait for reinforcement.
“After the commander was killed, Junior Sergeant Abajyan took over the command and continued the fight. By that point, the rival forces were infiltrating the military point. Abajyan and gunner Zohrabyan were still fighting and retreated to the lodgings, and in that time they both got wounded. Zohrabyan died from blood loss. Sergeant Abajyan positioned himself in the trenches and kept on fighting, while reporting to battalion commander on the situation at the position. Seeing that Azerbaijani soldiers were approaching him, Abajyan called the commander again and said that he already pulled the ring of his last grenade and was waiting for the enemy to come close, so that he blows them up and doesn’t surrender,” said Alik Sargsyan, Deputy Regiment Commander.
When Azerbaijani soldiers were close, Robert Abajyan hid the grenade in his hand and put his arms forward, pretending to surrender, then he let the soldiers come closer and blew himself up with them. By this action, 19-year-old Sergeant saved the group of Armenian soldiers, who were coming from the rear and eventually managed to keep the “inherited” position. Major Edik Maloyan and his eight-man staff attacked the position and made the rival forces retreat.
Abajyan’s father stated with confidence, “My son acted like a hero and made a conscious choice. His family will always be proud of him and talk about him with a smile.”
“He had a unique quality, - he had to do everything himself, had to help others as they might not manage. He always took leadership and liked it, and he was loyal to his principles and moral code to the end,” the hero’s mother said.
Robert Abajyan was a dental technician by profession, and studied at St. Theresa Medical University. He already started the countdown until the end of service, but never complained of it.
His friends tell that he enjoyed life in the army despite some disciplinary difficulties, felt proud of his uniform and wore it even when he visited family, so that everyone could see that he, Kyazh from Victory Park neighbourhood, whose father bore the same nickname, was a soldier and a defender of Armenia.
Now he has a new title, Hero of Artsakh. This rank and Abajyan’s heroic actions made a new page in history, and he became an example of a nowadays hero for future generations, a hero who gave his life in service of his motherland…
Photos from the Abajyan family archive