Russian special services are involved in the arrest of Vitaliy Markiv, a soldier of the National Guard of Ukraine in Italy. This was stated by the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov during a report in the Verkhovna Rada on June 5.

He reminded that Markiv came to Ukraine from Italy in 2013 to take part in the Revolution of Dignity, then defended the Motherland from Russian aggression in Donbas.

“We are convinced that the accusations of involvement in the murder of an Italian journalist (Andrea Rockelli – ed.) are completely falsified and are a special operation of the Russian secret services, which is being carried out in Italy,” Avakov said.

He stressed that the Ukrainian authorities are doing everything possible to release Markiv. At the same time, the Minister praised the chances of the defense of the national guardsman during the appeal in the case.

“Now we are waiting for the end of quarantine in Italy. A session of the appellate court will be announced, where, I am sure, we have extremely good positions. We will also continue diplomatic efforts at the level between governments,” the Minister said.

He reminded that Ukraine had resumed the investigation into the murder of journalist Rockelli. An investigative experiment was recently conducted in Slovyansk, Donetsk Oblast, “which proves 100 percent that Markiv could not have been involved, in the murder, even physically”.

We will remind, Markiv was detained in Bologna in June 2017 on suspicion of involvement in murder of Rockelli on May 24, 2014, around Slovyansk of Donetsk region. According to prosecutors, Markiv from Mount Karachun gave to the command information about the whereabouts of journalists, after which there was a shelling, during which Rockelli was killed.

On July 12, 2019, a court in Italy sentenced Markiv to 24 years in prison. In November last year, the defense appealed the verdict. The trial was set to begin in the spring, but due to a coronavirus pandemic, the case was adjourned.

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