Italian Foreign Ministry Confirms Death of Journalist in UkraineWorld | May 25, 2014, Sunday // 14:15| views
Pro-Russian militants guard a checkpoint in Semyonovka village, outside Slaviansk, Ukraine. Photo: EPA/BGNES
An Italian journalist was killed Saturday during a mortar shell attack close to Slaviansk, Donetsk region, Italy's Foreign Ministry said.
"Unfortunately, all of the information points to the fact that he has died," a spokeswoman told AFP on Sunday.
The ministry said in a statement that Andrea Rocchelli, 30, was killed Saturday in the area of Slaviansk. The journalist's body, taken to a hospital along with that of a Russian citizen, was awaiting official identification by his family, which was due to arrive in Kiev on Sunday.
The ministry gave no details of how Rocchelli died. But Italian news reports on Saturday night quoted a French photographer, William Rongulson, who was with the victim, as saying that the journalists and a Russian interpreter were hit by mortar fire after taking shelter in a roadside ditch.
Rongulson himself was wounded by a shell fragment in the leg.
Earlier on Saturday, representatives of Slaviansk’s self-defense forces opened a return fire at Ukrainian army positions after fierce armed clashes near the village of Semyonovka in Slaviansk’s outskirts. Mortar and machine gun fire could be heard in Slaviansk the whole day.