Italian journalist killed in Eastern Ukraine, says ministry

Exact circumstances surrounding death are still unclear, Rome’s foreign ministry said

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An Italian journalist was killed Saturday during a mortar shell attack close to Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine, Rome’s foreign ministry announced.

“Unfortunately, all of the information points to the fact that he has died,” a spokeswoman told AFP on Sunday.

The exact circumstances surrounding his death were still unclear, added the ministry, saying the situation was “difficult to verify” even for the Ukrainian authorities.

The journalist was named by Italian media as Andrea Rocchelli, 30, a founder of the photo agency, Cesura. He was commonly known by his nickname “Andy”.

His body had been taken to a hospital close to Slavyansk for identification, added the ministry.

“The family of the young reporter has been in contact in the last few hours with the ministry and the embassy in Kiev, which will assist with his body in the afternoon when it arrives in the Ukraine capital,” said the ministry.

On Saturday evening, a French photographer with the agency Wostok Press, William Roguelon, said that he, together with another Western photographer and a Russian translator, had come under fire during a mortar shell attack.

According to Italian media, Rocchelli was the other Western photographer. The interpreter was named as Andrei Mironov.

Roguelon said that the photographer and translator had tried to seek shelter in a ditch as up to 60 shells fell. Roguelon received shrapnel wounds to both legs.

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