26 May 2014, 17:31

Rome demands handover of body of Italian journalist killed in Ukraine

Rome demands handover of body of Italian journalist killed in Ukraine

Italian diplomats are stepping up efforts to have the body of journalist and photographer Andrea Rocchelli, who was killed near Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine, to be transported to Kiev, Italian media report, quoting a source in the Italian embassy in Ukraine.

Rocchelli’s body remains in a morgue in Slavyansk. His parents were reportedly due to arrive in Kiev on Sunday, the source said.

Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter died after their car came under mortar fire near Slavyansk.

A French journalist travelling in the same car was injured in the attack.

The Italian Foreign Ministry demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.

OSCE calls on Kiev authorities to investigate Italian reporter's death

OSCE media freedom representative Dunja Mijatovic demanded that Kiev authorities investigate the circumstances of death of an Italian reporter and his interpreter in Ukraine. Dunja Mijatovic called on the authorities to carry out a quick and thorough investigation of their deaths' circumstances and to establish the culprits, according to a statement issued by the organization.

The media freedom representative has also expressed condolences to the victims' relatives, noting that the situation around journalists' safety in Ukraine continues to worsen. Mijatovic said these deaths were a horrible reminder that not enough efforts were being made to protect the lives of journalists covering the conflict in Ukraine. She recalled that she repeatedly expressed concerns over the situation with the safety of journalists, but it continues deteriorating.

The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Sunday the death of Andy Rocchelli outside Slavyansk in the Donetsk region.

Rocchelli, 30, was specializing in "trouble spots" across the world. He made photo reports from Afghanistan, Libya and Algeria.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian media reported that Rocchelli together with his French colleague William Rongulson and interpreter Andrei Mironov had come under mortar fire in the south of Slavyansk surrounded by the Ukrainian military.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini requested the Ukrainian authorities on Sunday to clarify the circumstances, in which Italian photographer Andy Rocchelli had been killed in the east Ukrainian city of Slavyansk.

"We're requesting you to clarify within the shortest time possible the circumstances of the attack that killed an Italian citizen," the Italian minister of foreign affairs said in an official statement.

Italy demands investigation into reporter's death near Slavyansk

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini has expressed grief over the death of an Italian photo correspondent Andrea Rocchelli, who was killed in a mortar attack near Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine. Kiev on Sunday officially confirmed the journalist’s death.

Mogherini demanded precise information about the circumstances of the attack in which Rocchelli, 30, had been killed.

She said she expected to hear it from Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Andrei Deshitsa in the coming hours.

Earlier, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano expressed his deepest sorrow at the death of Rocchelli and his interpreter Andrei Mironov, who was also killed in the attack.

The fact that journalists are killed while performing their professional duties focuses the world’s attention on the tragic events in Ukraine at a crucial time for Europe, Napolitano said in a statement.

French journalist wounded in Ukraine's Slavyansk to be delivered home

French journalist William Rongulson who received fragmentation wounds in a mortar attack in the city of Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine will be brought to his homeland within hours, French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Romain Nadal said on Sunday, ITAR-TASS reports.

The representative said the wound was not life threatening and the French embassy in Kiev was dealing with the journalist's repatriation.

The Paris headquarters of Wostok Press photo agency told ITAR-TASS that Rongulson was currently staying on the territory of Ukraine where he was getting medical assistance.

"He has fragmentation wounds of both legs. His condition is normal but he is slightly shocked over what had happened. The French embassy is assisting in medical aid provision," said a representative of the photo agency that specializes in photo reports from Eastern Europe.

The headquarters of the Slavyansk self-defense force said on Saturday that the Ukraine National Guard had killed an Italian journalist and his interpreter in the mortar attack while the French stringer had been wounded in the leg.

Kiev's authorities are continuing to carry out a punitive combat operation in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which declared their independence from Ukraine at the May 11 referendums.

Italian Foreign Ministry confirms its journalist killed in eastern Ukraine

An Italian journalist was killed Saturday during a mortar shell attack close to Slavyansk, Donetsk region, Italy's Foreign Ministry announced.

"Unfortunately, all of the information points to the fact that he has died," a spokeswoman told AFP on Sunday.

Italian journalist, his interpreter killed in mortar attack near Ukraine's Slavyansk

An Italian journalist and his interpreter were killed in a mortar attack near the city of Slavyansk in Eastern Ukraine. A French stringer was wounded, a source at the Slavyansk militia headquarters told TASS.

The journalists worked in the village of Andreyevka near Slavyansk, TASS reports.

The French stringer, William Rongulson, was taken to hospital with a shell fragment wound in his leg. He left the hospital himself after the doctors had bandaged his wound. Any further details are so far unknown.

Earlier on Saturday, representatives of Slavyansk’s self-defense forces opened a return fire at Ukrainian army positions after fierce armed clashes near the village of Semyonovka in Slavyansk’s outskirts. Motor fire as well as submachine and submachine gun rounds could be heard in Slavyansk the whole day.

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