Italian photographer, Russian interpreter killed in east Ukraine
A passport of Italian photojournalist, 30-year old Andrea Rocchelli, killed Saturday near Slovyansk, is photographed in Slovyansk, Ukraine, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (AP / Pool)
Alexander Zemlianichenko, The Associated Press
Published Sunday, May 25, 2014 8:21AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 25, 2014 8:57AM EDT
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine -- An Italian photojournalist and his Russian interpreter have been killed in eastern Ukraine while covering fighting between government forces and pro-Russia insurgents, officials said Sunday.
The Italian Foreign Ministry said Andrea Rocchelli, 30, was killed Saturday in the area of Slovyansk, the flashpoint of some of the most intense battles in recent weeks.
Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini expressed condolences to Rocchelli's relatives and the family of interpreter Andrey Mironov.
The bodies of the Rocchelli and Mironov were taken to a hospital for official identification and Rocchelli's relatives were planning to travel to Ukraine on Sunday, the ministry said.
William Roguelon, a French photographer who was travelling with Rocchelli and Mironov, said in remarks broadcast by Russian television that they were hit by mortar fire as they were taking shelter in a roadside ditch. Roguelon was wounded in the shelling.
Insurgents in Slovyansk, who have engaged in daily fighting with government forces seeking to flush them out of the city, said that the journalists came under shelling from Ukrainian troops late Saturday, but that claim could not be independently confirmed.
In Kyiv, Ukraine's Interior Ministry declined to provide details about what happened to Rocchelli and Mironov.
Mironov, 60, was also a human rights activist who served time in prison as a dissident when Russia was part of the Soviet Union. He was well- known and had friendly ties with many Moscow-based Western journalists.