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Vitaly Markiv was detained on Friday, June 30, in the city of Bologna. Suspicion to him was put forward by the Pavia Prosecutor's Office. Currently, the fighter is in prison. Deputy platoon commander Markiv, who served in the operational battalion of Kulchytsky, is suspected of involvement in the deaths of photo reporter Andrea Rockelli and Russian journalist Andrei Mironov, who were killed in May 2014 near Sloviansk (Donetsk region). French reporter William Rogelon was also wounded that day. In the area of the village Andriivka group of foreign journalists fell under mortar fire.
After it became known about the detention of Markiv, Ukraine’s Prosecution General said that it was truly surprised by the arrest of the soldier. Ukrainian law enforcers are investigating criminal proceedings on the death of foreign journalists, and according to investigators, the deaths of two journalists were the result of shelling by Russian-terrorist forces. The Office also appealed to the Italian authorities to provide evidence of Markiv's guilt or his immediate release.
Markiv came to Italy to visit his mother on vacation and was detained. There are reports that 14 Italian law enforcers took part in his arrest.
People's Deputy Andriy Antonyshchak, who personally knew the detainee, said that in the childhood, Markiv was taken to Italy by his mother, since she worked there, and he had Italian citizenship. However, after the events on the Maidan in 2013, Vitaly returned to Ukraine and restored his Ukrainian passport.
Now the consul is not allowed to him, arguing that he is a citizen of Italy. He was given a lawyer by the authorities, but now they are looking for another defender.
Antonyshchak also categorically refutes Markiv's involvement in the shelling in which Rockelli and Mironov were killed.
"I think it's illegal, I knew him not only from the battalion, I knew him from Maidan... May 2, 2014, at 4 am, our battalion stormed Sloviansk, together with the third regiment of special forces, and the 95th brigade. Vitaly Markiv was in one of the special groups, his soldier name was "Italian." And when our column was blocked on the bridge on May 2 (nobody knew about it), representatives of Russia Today and representatives of Italian journalists came to us. My first question: how did they get there? ... We analyzed how he with his colleagues were he killed. They could not be killed him from Karachun mountain," told the People's Deputy.
He explains that at that time, they did not have mortars, but only small arms. The official statement also says that in 2014, Kulchytsky battalion had no mortars in its possession. Ukraine’s Prosecution General said that Italian law enforcers did not ask for legal assistance in the context of questioning Markiv.
"In addition, we are in touch with Mr. Markiv's lawyer and we are trying to get the information we requested, in particular that on that day Mr. Markiv was not in the zone where Mr. Rockelli could physically be defeated," said the Deputy Prosecutor General Eugene Yenin.
In addition, the Consulate General of Ukraine in Milan applied to the Pavia court for information on the grounds and circumstances of his detention, and also to ensure the possibility for the consul to visit Markiv in the near future.
The Consul has already established contact with the detainee's lawyer and agreed on an algorithm for further action.
The adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, People's Deputy of People's Front Anton Herashchenko said that the detention of Markiv is Russian provocation. In his opinion, the special services of the Russian Federation could help, so that they showed him the appropriate suspicion.
"The whole story stinks, and looks like another Russian provocation. Kulchytsky battalion had no mortars from which it would be possible to hit the Italian photojournalist... Italian law enforcers must provide Ukraine with information, where evidence would be clearly written... We are assuming that, most likely, this is a Russian provocation. Special services of the Russian Federation have transferred to Italy some fictitious documents on the basis of which the Italians started a criminal case," he said.
Today, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine explained the situation. The department says that the Pavia city prosecutor's office started criminal proceedings on the information of a French journalist. Probably the French journalist who was wounded then testified against Markiv.
“As part of this production, the French journalist pointed out that the death of journalists was a consequence of the use of weapons by the unit of Ukraine’s National Guard, in which the detainee Vitaly Markiv was serving. In addition, as part of the evidence, the French journalist provided a video. At the same time, according to the Ukrainian investigation, the deaths of two journalists occurred as a result of shelling by Russian-terrorist forces," the report said.
The first hearing on the case is scheduled for July 4.