Avakov asks Italian court to avoid incorrect interpretations in trial of National Guard member Markiv
Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov has given Italian Ambassador to Ukraine Davide La Cecilia a public statement asking the Italian court to avoid misinterpretations of a number of concepts during the trial of National Guard member Vitaliy Markiv, who is accused of murdering Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli.
"In the context of the official political position of Italy, which is friendly to us, Italian justice cannot operate with questionable terminology, in which the trace of Russian propaganda is clearly evident," Avakov said during his meeting with the ambassador.
Avakov said his ministry is forced to resort to a démarche in the form of this statement with a view to drawing attention of the Italian side to the incorrect interpretation by the Italian court of a number of key points that could have a negative impact on the adoption of an objective decision by the court.
Avakov said he approved of the decision of the Italian side to start the trial in essence of Markiv in the court of Assisi. The first hearing is scheduled for July 6.
"We believe that the court's decision will eventually dot the "i," removing all the insinuations and refuting unjustified accusations against Markiv," the minister said.
According to him, the position of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in this case remains firm and consistent since the Markiv's arrest in June 2017.
In the statement posted to his ministry's website, Avakov said it is necessary to make "important adjustments" to conceptual definitions.
"In the materials of the investigation and numerous documents of the court we continue to meet such concepts as 'pro-Russian separatist insurgents,' 'civil conflict,' … etc. This exemplifies the discrepancy with the terminology used by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In his opinion, Italian justice should clearly perceive that in May 2014 the soldier of the National Guard of Ukraine Markiv was in the Sloviansk district in the regular parts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine (rather than in a "paramilitary structures," as it appears in the case).
"The place where the Italian photographer Rocchelli tragically died at that time was the epicenter of the fighting.
"Rocchelli knew about this, but despite the warnings previously made public by Italian embassy in Ukraine and without any coordination (accreditation) with Ukrainian authorities, he made this dangerous journey on his own volition. And he was killed by enemy shelling," Avakov said.
According to Avakov, the manipulation of concepts and the substitution of meanings is "a very dangerous weapon of a modern hybrid war against Ukraine."
"I urge Italian judges to be as attentive and accurate as possible in understanding the political context, so as not to fall into the trap of false interpretations of the insidious Russian propaganda, which obviously will not miss the opportunity to take advantage of Markiv's case to smear Ukrainians and Ukraine," Avakov said.
As earlier reported, Ukrainian serviceman Markiv was detained in Italy on June 30, 2017 on suspicion of murdering Rocchelli near Sloviansk in Donetsk region during May 2014.
In late February 2018, Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yevhen Yenin said Ukraine has no grounds to investigate the Markiv case, but counts on the objectivity of the Italian side in this matter and the agreement to create a joint investigation team.