Italian investigation concludes reporter in Donbass was murdered in an ambush


May 7, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

– Cesare Giuzzi, in Corriere Della Sera, translated from Italian by Tom Winter  –

Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrey Mironov, killed in Ukraine May 24, 2014

The murdered photographer in Ukraine

“was killed in an ambush”

Nearly three years of investigations have been conducted since the Italian Andrea Rocchelli, “Andy,” founder and member of “Cesura,” the group of independent photographers, was killed in Andreyevka near the Ukrainian city of Sloviansk on May 24, 2014
By Cesare Giuzzi

Andy did not die by mistake. His death was not “collateral damage” in the war in Donbass. No, the murder of Andrea Rocchelli, photojournalist of the independent group Cesura, was an intentional murder. 

It was a repeated bombardment with 40-60 mortar shots and it lasted more than half an hour. A “continued” fire, as the investigators write, with artillery-troops who fired shots on the taxi Andy Rocchelli, his Russian interpreter the journalist Andrei Mironov and their French guest William Roguelon were in. 

Then they focused specifically on the “hole” where the photographer and the interpreter found shelter. Until the certainty that they were killed. 

The first real breakthrough in investigations into the death of the photojournalists in Ukraine comes three years since they were killed May 24, 2014. The deputy prosecutor of Pavia, Andrea Zanoncelli and the associate Mario Venditti are convinced that Rocchelli, born and raised right on the banks of the Ticino, was intentionally killed in an ambush and not in an incident of war. A thesis that somehow collides with what the family claimed and even the only survivor of the attack (the taxi driver never was identified), the Frenchman Roguelon. The transalpine reporter was questioned twenty days ago in Milan by carabinieri of Ros [Special Operations Group], led by Colonel Paolo Storoni.

The investigators, after being stymied more than two years, have been able to give new impetus to investigations by seizing hitherto unpublished documents. So far, despite the appeals of the family, requests with Kiev and Moscow had in fact brought no step forward in the investigation (the file originally had been opened in Rome).

The answers that came back from Kiev have been considered “not satisfactory” even just to rebuild the dynamics of the shooting. Investigators are now convinced that they have identified a trail behind the ambush, and even if the secrecy remains high, they may have shed some light on the men who were part of the Andreyevka fire near the Ukrainian city of Sloviansk.

Among the new material seized were the archives on which Rocchelli kept the photographs taken during his working days, the virtual icloud with which he sent the material to Italy, to Pianello Val Tidone in Piacentino where the collective Cesura is located, and also part of the files that were erased from this hardware. 

What is believed, but at the moment unconfirmed, is that Rocchelli and the Russian journalist and former Russian dissident Mironov were killed by the fire of Ukrainian troops. The main target would be Mironov. But Rocchelli, who had already dealt with the war in Chechnya, was a well-known name among the war reporters in the former USSR.

Italian magistrates are about to demand a new inquest from the Ukrainian authorities.

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