Markiv detained in Italy is acting platoon commander in Kulchytsky battalion
A Ukrainian military serviceman, Vitaliy Markiv, detained in Italy on suspicion of killing an Italian photojournalist is deputy platoon commander in the battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine named after General Serhiy Kulchytsky, member of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction and coordinator of the Kulchytsky battalion Andriy Antonyschak has said.
"I want to clarify. He was not in the Kulchytsky battalion, he serves in the Kulchytsky battalion as deputy platoon commander. As for Markiv's detention, it's illegal," the lawmaker said on 112.ua TV channel on Saturday.
According to him, Markiv was detained on Friday, June 30. The General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine immediately reacted and informed the Italian counterparts that criminal proceedings had been opened in Ukraine into the murder of an Italian journalist, as well as a Russian journalist and a Russian human rights activist.
"An investigation is underway. Witnesses are being questioned, the Ukrainian and Italian sides cooperate fully, and only when he (Markiv) entered Italy, he was arrested... At present, he is being held in prison in the town of Pavia... Ukrainian diplomats are not allowed to him, motivating it that Vitaliy has Italian citizenship," the lawmaker said.
Antonyschak noted that Markiv has "both Italian citizenship and Ukrainian citizenship", because at a young age he and his mother left Italy for Ukraine.
According to the MP, Markiv took part in the Revolution of Dignity and at the same time he "restored his passport and his Ukrainian status."
Antonyschak said that the Italian side provided Markiv with a lawyer, but the Ukrainian side will turn him down... and will hire their own lawyer.
He noted that now, together with the Ukrainian Consulate General in Italy, they are working to ensure that Markiv is released from prison before trial and in court they will be proving his innocence.
He noted that on May 2, 2014, at 04:00, Sloviansk was stormed by the Kulchytsky battalion, with the participation of the 95th Airborne Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Markiv was in one of the special groups that were on the Mount Karachun. And when the column was blocked, representatives of Russia Today and Italian journalists appeared on the bridge. According to the MP, the photojournalist could not have been killed from the Karachun Mountain, and in addition, the Ukrainian military did not have mortars, but only small arms.
Ukrainian Deputy Prosecutor General Yevhen Yenin reported earlier on Saturday, Ukrainian serviceman Vitaliy Markiv, who is suspected of killing Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli near the city of Sloviansk, Donetsk region, in May 2014, was arrested in Italy.