Pravda, 7 March 1992
By Zaur Kadymbekov (Pravda correspondent)
The Khojaly Tragedy
Elman Mammadov, the head of the town’s executive authority, lost 22 of his relatives within a few hours, amongst them his mother. Khojaly, which was besieged, first of all suffered mass artillery bombardment, he recounts. Alazan missiles, weapons from tanks, armoured personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles were being fired at the town from all four sides continuously. Under the cover of armoured hardware, infantry fighters launched their assault when everything around lay in ruins, scorched, after artillery had first pounded away for many hours to destroy the town. The few surviving defenders of the town and civilians retreated to the forest, fording an icy river. “All night long our column including women, children, the elderly and the wounded made its way through the forest. By morning we were out of the forest – the fields of the Armenian village of Nakhchivanik lay ahead. It was here that we were met by point blank fire from machine guns and automatic weapons. They fired mercilessly at the exhausted live targets. A good many of my compatriots, friends and relatives fell here. Seven of my comrades and I, armed with automatic weapons, tried to give them cover. But to no avail. Cut off on all sides, we lay in the snow in the gorge for 12 hours, unable even to raise our heads due to the shooting.”
Atakishi Atakishiyev, the prosecutor of the town of Khojaly: “The town has been wiped off the face of the Earth. The help on which we pinned our hopes for so long did not come after all.”
Here is what privates of the 366th Regiment Yury Yakhnovich, Aleksey Bogdanov, Pavel Antipin and Pavel Zuyev, a group of soldiers who left the regiment because they did not want to participate in the interethnic conflict, have to say. Aleksey Bogdanov: “Many of the regiment’s officers, practically all the warrant officers and some of the soldiers are Armenians. They would take out from the unit at night armoured personnel carriers which were fully kitted out and they would come back ’empty’ in the morning.”
The frontiers of the war are spreading and it is growing in scale.