KIEV, July 1. /TASS/. Ukrainian military serviceman Vitaly Markiv has been arrested in Italy on suspicion of being involved in the killing of Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli in Donbass in 2014, Ukraine’s Deputy Prosecutor General Yevgeni Yenin said on Saturday.
"The Prosecutor General’s Office was surprised to learn about the arrest of Ukrainian soldier Vitaly Markiv in Italy, on suspicion of being involved in the killing of photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli near the city of Slavyansk in May 2014," Yenin wrote on Facebook.
He added that according to the Ukrainian investigators, the Italian photojournalist and his Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov had died in a shelling incident.
The prosecutor general’s office in the Italian city of Pavia, investigating into Rocchelli’s death, said on Saturday that Markiv had been arrested at the airport of the city of Bologna after he had arrived in Italy to visit his mother, who is married to an Italian citizen and permanently resides in the country.
According to the Italian investigators, in late 2013, Markiv left Italy and went to his native country, where he participated in the Maidan events and then joined a vigilante armed group involved in the military activities in southeastern Ukraine. Investigators believe that it was Markiv who led the armed unit shelling Rocchelli and the people who assisted him in collecting information about the Donbass conflict. The shelling killed Rocchelli and Russian reporter Andrei Mironov, while French photographer William Roguelon was wounded. According to him, the Ukrainian military fired 40-60 munitions at their car and then at their hiding place, the attack lasted about half an hour. This led the Italian investigators to the conclusion that the Ukrainian armed group was deliberately trying to killed the journalists.
Rocchelli’s family and lawyer say that Ukraine is unwilling to cooperate in the investigation into his death. According to the lawyer, in the past three years, not a single satisfactory response has been received from Kiev.
The Ukrainian diplomats in Italy have not commented on Markiv’s arrest yet.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s deputy prosecutor general said that "the Prosecutor General’s Office has already contacted the Italian authorities demanding that either solid evidence is provided to back up the accusation against Markiv or he be immediately released.".