A Russian court has authorised the arrest in absentia of Ukraine’s National Guard serviceman Vitaliy Markiv for a murder of which he was acquitted by an Italian court, Russia’s Interfax news agency reports with reference to Irina Sofinskaya, a spokesperson of Moscow’s Basmanny District Court.

It is noted that the so-called “criminal case” against Markiv concerns the events of 2014 when Italian reporter Andrea Rocchelli and his interpreter, Russian human rights activist Andrei Mironov, were killed by mortar shelling near Sloviansk, Donetsk region.

Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov commented on the information about Markiv’s arrest in absentia, noting that the Russian Federation had actually admitted its involvement in the attempts to falsify the case of the National Guard member in Italy.

“Putin’s regime has actually admitted its participation in the attempts to falsify the case of National Guard serviceman Vitaliy Markiv. And when it fails, it begins its own blatant persecution! As they say in Russia, ‘The thief has a burning hat!’ [which means ‘guilty mind is never at ease’]. Ukraine will never leave its soldier!” the minister emphasised.

At the same time, Artem Shevchenko, Director of the Communications Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, wrote on his Facebook page that Russia wants to restrict Markiv’s ability to travel to other countries.

“Most likely, they bring the accusation of death of Russian citizen Mironov, who died together with photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli, for which our soldier was tried and acquitted by the Italian court. Thus, Russia wants to restrict his ability to travel to other countries, putting our serviceman at risk of detention within other jurisdictions and potential extradition,” Shevchenko said.

He also stressed that the ruling of the Russian court “is another evidence of the involvement of the aggressor country in the information and psychological operation of Vitaliy’s arrest and trial in Italy.”

Bohdan Marusyak

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