Ukraine to make every effort to present real circumstances of Italian journalist Rocchelli's death – Avakov
An additional investigation into the case of a soldier of the National Guard of Ukraine Vitaliy Markiv, who is accused of the death of Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli in Donbas in 2014, will provide the Italian court with evidence of his innocence, Interior Minister of Ukraine Arsen Avakov said during a conversation with Italian Ambassador to Ukraine Davide La Cecilia.
According to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's Facebook page, Avakov recalled that the Security Service of Ukraine was investigating the death of Rocchelli, however, active fighting in Sloviansk prevented the investigation in "hot pursuit." The case file was handed over to the Ukrainian police on October 15, 2019. "Now the investigator in the case of the guardsman has already applied to the Italian prosecutor's office with a proposal to grant them observer status in this investigation within the framework of the international legal field," he said.
Avakov noted that Ukraine would make every effort to represent the real circumstances of the death of the Italian.
The ambassador promised Avakov to establish communication with the Italian government in the Markiv case.
In turn, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko said that on behalf of Avakov, he met with Markiv on Tuesday and noted that his physical and moral condition was in order.
"None of the 167 pages of the verdict to Vitaliy Markiv has any evidence or the fact of his involvement in the death of the Italian journalist Rocchelli and Russian citizen Mironov, who died during the mortar shelling in Sloviansk on May 24, 2014," he wrote on Facebook.
According to the deputy minister, he considers the trial "purely political, PR propaganda reprisal against the Ukrainian soldier."
As reported, on July 12, the Italian court sentenced national guardsman Markiv to 24 years in prison, finding him guilty of complicity in the premeditated murder of Italian photojournalist Rocchelli in 2014. The court sentenced Markiv to 24 years' imprisonment, though the prosecutor asked for 17 years.
Avakov repeatedly stated that accusations against Markiv were unfounded: "Markiv is unfoundedly accused of the murder of Rocchelli, who illegally arrived in the ORDLO and was killed by the separatists."