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Italian journalist injured near Kherson returns to his homeland

Mattia Sorbi said his condition has significantly improved

ROME, September 18. /TASS/. Italian journalist Mattia Sorbi, injured by a Ukrainian landmine in the Kherson region, returned to his home country on Saturday and is getting better.

In an interview to Italy’s la Repubblica newspaper, Sorbi said his condition has significantly improved.

"I’m in Niguarda Hospital now, and I feel much better. I had 15 landmine fragments in my left leg and belly, Ukrainian doctors from a Russian-controlled hospital in Kherson removed them during an 11-hour-long operation. A number of micro-fragments still remain in my body, but my body is coping. A nerve in my left foot has been damaged, but doctors say it may be restored," Sorbi said. "I will spend some time in the hospital, and then my rehabilitation period will begin."

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that Ukrainian armed forces had set up a provocation, aiming to get Italian reporter Mattia Sorbi blown up on a landmine in the Kherson Region, in order to accuse Russian troops of his death. According to the Defense Ministry, on August 29, Mattia Sorbi departed to the forward positions of Ukrainian forces, accompanied by two people dressed in Ukrainian military uniforms. They gave the reporter directions, but hid that the road at the contact line was mined by Ukrainian forces.

As the car carrying the journalist moved on, it blew up on a Ukrainian landmine. The driver was killed immediately, while Sorbi was severely injured.

"When Russian servicemen saw a civilian car being blown up on a landmine, they advanced despite heavy fire from Ukrainian positions and pulled Mattia Sorbi from the burning vehicle. Russian servicemen provided him with first medical aid, carried him to safety and ensured emergency delivery of the heavily injured reporter to a medical facility," the Ministry said.

"My left leg was no longer moving, and I realized I that blood was all over me," Sorbi told la Repubblica. "Four servicemen with Russian insignia appeared on the road near a river. They realized that I could not move. <…> They were telling me to hang in there, as they pulled me to a hut near a river. They stabilized me and gave me some painkillers. An hour later I was in a military hospital in Kherson, and I was operated on immediately."

The reporter’s treatment and transfer via the Russian territory was organized by the Russian Red Cross.