MOSCOW, May 1. /TASS/. Italian journalist Giorgio Bianchi, who planned to attend mourning activities in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, has been detained in the country’s capital of Kiev, President of the Italian Speranza (or Hope) Association Irina Vikhoreva told reporters on Tuesday.
According to her, in 2015, Bianchi officially traveled from Ukraine to Donbass to make a series of photos, which he later presented for various exhibitions. Besides, he also worked on a documentary.
"Giorgio wanted to continue working on the footage and interview Ukrainians, particularly in Odessa, but he was apprehended upon his arrival in Kiev and informed that an entry ban had been imposed on him. He was told he would be deported on the first flight," Vikhareva said. "However, Giorgio said he had been questioned once again instead of being put on a plane. He said they probably intended to accuse him of abetting terrorists," she noted.
Vikhoreva pointed out that Bianchi had planned to attend mourning activities set to be held in Odessa on May 2 in the memory of 48 people who died in the Trade Union House in 2014.
Giorgio Bianchi is not the first foreign reported detained by the Ukrainian authorities who usually try to prevent foreigners from traveling to Odessa before May 2. In the past years, Italian, Dutch, German and Israeli journalists faced entry bans and were deported.
May 2, 2014 events in Odessa
On May 2, 2014, radicals of Ukraine’s Right Sector organization (outlawed in Russia) and the so-called Maidan self-defense units burnt up a tent camp on Kulikovo Field where Odessa residents were collecting signatures in support of a referendum on the country’s federalization and the status of Russian as a state language. People sought shelter in the Trade Union House in downtown Odessa, while radicals encircled the building and set it ablaze, assaulting those who tried to escape from the fire.
As many as 48 people died and over 200 were injured in the massacre.