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Documentary project on Markiv case to be presented in Italian Parliament

Documentary project on Markiv case to be presented in Italian Parliament
The Wrong Place (Не в тому місці) will be presented in the Italian Parliament on February 14. It highlights the case against Ukrainian National Guardsman Vitaliy Markiv and the killing of Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli near then-occupied Sloviansk in May, 2014.

Members of the press and media are invited to attend the presentation, which will take place at 14:30 on February 14, 2020 in the Press Room of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament (Camera dei Deputati). Address: via della Missione 4, Rome.The actual screening will take place some time in April.

In late summer 2019, three Italian journalists – Cristiano Tinazzi, Danilo Elia, Ruben Lagattolla – and Ukrainian journalist Olha Tokariuk set out to re-create the story of the fatal shooting of Andrea Rocchelli and Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov near then-occupied Sloviansk on May 24, 2014.

The event is organized by the Italian Radicali party (Radicali Italiani). The presentation will include talks by Cristiano Tinazzi, director of the film, President of the Italian Federation for Human Rights (FIDU) Antonio Stango, representative of the Italian Radical party Silvja Manzi and Radicali Italiani MP Riccardo Magi.

The film will be presented a second time for the general public at 18:00 on the same day, February 14, in the central office of the Italian Radical party. Address: Via Angelo Bargoni, 32/36, Rome.

Despite evidence that Vitaliy Markiv could not have been involved in the shelling, during which Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli and Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov were killed, the Pavia court sentenced the Ukrainian soldier (who also holds Italian citizenship) to 24 years in prison. The verdict was delivered on in the Pavia courtroom on July 12, 2019.

The court also ruled to prosecute Ukrainian MP Bohdan Matkivsky, who was the commander of Markiv’s unit in the Donbas at that time.

The Italian police arrested Vitaliy Markiv at Bologna Airport on June 30, 2017, where he arrived to visit his mother Oksana Maksymchuk, who resides in Italy.

30-year-old Andrea Rocchelli was a member of the Cesura Lab Photo Reporter Group. He was killed on May 24, 2014 in heavy mortar shelling in the village of Andriyivka near then-occupied Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast. The circumstances were described by French photojournalist William Roguelon of Wostok Press Agency, who was seriously wounded at the scene of the tragedy. Roguelon testified for the prosecution.

The National Guard of Ukraine reported that in 2014 the military units of the National Guard of Ukraine (20.03 to 04.08.2014) were equipped exclusively with small arms and light weapons; heavy machine guns and artillery, including mortars, were not available, particularly in the Sloviansk area and Mount Karachun.

According to the Italian prosecutor, Senior Sergeant Vitaliy Markov did not commit the crime directly, but he did inform his commanders about civilian presence and movement near the Zeus Ceramica factory. The prosecution assumed that the commander then contacted Ukrainian military personnel, who launched a mortar strike targeting the foreign journalists.

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine appealed to the Italian authorities demanding more substantial evidence of Markiv’s guilt. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov stated that Ukraine was ready to provide all necessary documents in the Markiv case to the Italian courts.

On May 17, 2019, Interior Minister Avakov and National Guard Commander Mykola Balan testified in the Pavia court in defense of Markiv.

The appeal is now pending. Ambassador of Ukraine to Italy Yevhen Perelygin announced that the appeal hearing may take place in May-June, 2020.

According to members of the #Free Markiv campaign, the entire case is based on a Russian narrative, which everyone is familiar with: Ukraine is ruled by “nationalists who came to power as a result of a coup”, Ukrainian soldiers are “ruthless vigilantes, members of volunteer battalions who are out to kill innocent civilians”, Ukrainians are fighting against “Donbas partisans, who respect journalists”, etc.

On January 17, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a resolution requesting that the President and Parliament of Italy ensure transparency, objectivity and impartiality in the appeal proceedings against Senior Sergeant of the National Guard of Ukraine Vitaliy Markiv.

During his official visit to Italy on February 7, President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti discussed the Markiv case. As reported by the Presidential Office:

“The issue of Vitaliy Markiv, a Ukrainian citizen convicted in Italy, was raised. The Head of State noted that he expects a comprehensive and objective investigation of the case. He also offered to establish a joint investigation group to further investigate the circumstances of the death of Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli.”

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