The appeals court in Milan has fully acquitted the former Ukrainian National Guard military man Vitaliy Markiv, who has been imprisoned since 30 June 2017 and then sentenced to 24 years in prison for the 2014 murder of Italian journalist Andrea Rockelli and his translator near Slovyansk in Donetsk Oblast.

A Ukrainian delegation, which consisted of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and Ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova, was present at the court ruling announcement in Milan.

Judges and jurors have acquitted the military on all charges due to a lack of evidence and released him immediately. Markiv left the Opera’s high-security prison near Milan on the evening of 3 November and arrived in Ukraine on Wednesday, 4 November.

“This is an extraordinary event! We have proved that justice exists. My verdict proved that Kremlin propaganda has no limits. But the truth wins, goodness wins. Glory to Ukraine! We persevered. We showed that we could resist one of the strongest armies in the world. We are defenders, not occupiers. This victory is in memory of all the fallen soldiers,” Markiv said.

Already in Ukraine, he added that the Russian propaganda machine had the goal to disgrace the honour and dignity of the entire Ukrainian people, but justice was restored.

According to the Ukrainian military, the trial will go on. Now, the Ukrainian side will demand compensation from the prosecution. At the same time, Markiv will continue to serve in the National Guard ranks.

Bohdan Marusyak

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