‘Ready to fight’

Fridik Barsegyan, 73, who lives in the outskirts of the village said the new border will cut right through his yard.

“Imagine waking up one day and finding out your house is suddenly in another country!”

“I’ve been working my butt off since I was 16 … to build this house. It’s been tough as nails, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let it all go now. We’re staying put, right here, until the bitter end.”

His neighbour Artem Manucharyan, 61, said he could not agree more.

“If Azerbaijanis want to take over, they’ll have to drag me out. I’m not leaving willingly. I’ll stand my ground right here on my land.”

Mayor Aghbalyan said many locals “are ready to fight tooth and nail to defend their land.”

“We are peaceful people, but everyone here is prepared to pick up arms if we have to.”

Some Voskepar residents have even begun military training with the help of a Yerevan-based veterans group called “Combat Brotherhood.”

The training “includes tactical exercises and firearm proficiency,” said one of the group’s leaders, Hrant Ter-Abrahamyan.

“Villagers can’t fight with a regular army of course, but if they are armed and trained, it’s an additional deterrent and an important factor for self-defence.”

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