French journalist Paul Gogo, who was in Donbas with William Roguelon (key prosecution witness in the Markiv trial) and who Roguelon phoned during the gunfire and shelling in Sloviansk, called the sentence of the Pavia court “quite mind-blowing” and declared that he was ready to testify.
“Quite a mind-blowing decision by Italian justice… for anyone who knows anything about this case! Seeing that I was in that exact war zone during these tragic events, I would like to testify. The French “photographer” stated that he plans to take the matter to court. Will the French justice system launch an investigation?… wrote Gogo on Twitter on July 13.
Paul Gogo, who is a freelance journalist based in Moscow, added that the Italian prosecutor’s office did not carry out a proper investigation.
“I was in Donetsk; I lived in a hostel with the wounded Frenchman. He was in panic when he called me during the gunfire and shelling in Sloviansk. I immediately rang the embassy. There’s no doubt about the seriousness of his involvement, and he did play some role or other in the course of these tragic events. But, it seems to me that Italy did not carry out a proper investigation.”.
He underlined that Markiv was sentenced “on the basis of false testimonies” and under pressure from professional journalist and media associations in Italy.
Hromadske International has released a follow-up interview with Paul Gogo (video in English, 10 min):
Despite overwhelming evidence that Vitaliy Markov could not possibly be involved in the gunfire or shelling, which led to the death of Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov in occupied Sloviansk in May 2014, the court in Pavia sentenced National Guard Vitaliy Markiv to 24 years on July 12.
The court also filed a lawsuit against Ukrainian MP Bohdan Matkivsky, who was in charge of Markiv’s unit in Donbas.
Photo journalist William Roguelon worked for the Wostok Press agency and was recording combat operations in the area. Roguelon also worked as a freelance journalist, but Gogo confirms that Roguelon had no idea about what was happening in Ukraine, and especially the war, and insisted on leaving for Sloviansk because he was “bored in Donetsk”, despite warnings from all his colleagues. Roguelon was called to testify for the prosecution, but often contradicted himself.
Paul Gogo states that neither he nor any of his colleagues were summoned to testify in the Markiv trial in Pavia, Italy.
The National Guard of Ukraine officially confirmed that, from March 20 to April 4, 2014, their operational units were equipped small arms only: automatic rifles and machine guns, and that they had no heavy artillery or mortars, including in the Sloviansk and Mount Karachun area.
Moreover, the Italian prosecutor agreed that Vitaliy Markov did not commit a crime, but probably only informed the command headquarters of civilian movement near the Zeus Ceramica factory.
The General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine has appealed to the Italian authorities, requesting them to provide solid evidence of Markiv’s crime or to immediately release him.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has also stated that Ukraine is ready to hand over all the documents pertaining to the Markiv case.
On May 17, 2019, Interior Minister Avakov met with Vitaliy Markiv. He and commander of the National Guard, Mykola Balan, gave evidence in Markiv’s behalf in the Pavia court.