Zelensky calls Markiv's release a victory for justice

Zelensky calls Markiv's release a victory for justice

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed the decision by the Milan Court of Appeals to acquit Ukrainian National Guard serviceman Vitaliy Markiv and thanked the entire team that worked for his release.

The head of state wrote this on his Twitter account, according to Ukrinform.

"I welcome the decision of the Italian court to acquit Ukrainian National Guard [serviceman] Vitaliy Markiv. His release is a victory for justice! #FreeMarkiv hashtag can be left for history. Grateful to the whole team that worked for this victory!" Zelensky wrote.

He stressed that "one translation error could have ruined the fate of our National Guard serviceman," the President's Office reported.

"The whole country closely followed Vitaliy's case, we were worried. The release of National Guard serviceman Markiv is a victory for justice. I am sincerely grateful to the Italian side and to the entire team that worked to achieve this justice. We would not have managed to get Vitaliy out of prison without the participation of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Ukrainian diplomats, the President's Office. Congratulations to all of us. This is truly a festive occasion. Justice must always triumph," Zelensky said.

He also stressed that "this news gives us all the strength and faith in the success of the further struggle for all citizens of Ukraine, who, unfortunately, are still illegally held in captivity or in prison."

The Milan Court of Appeals acquitted National Guard serviceman Vitaliy Markiv on November 3. The court ruled that Markiv had not committed any crime.

The session of the Milan Court of Appeals on November 3 was attended by Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova.

Markiv was not taken to court due to quarantine restrictions imposed in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. He was present at the trial virtually from prison.

Markiv, Senior Sergeant of the National Guard of Ukraine, was serving his term in a prison near Milan after a court of first instance sentenced him to 24 years in prison last July for his alleged involvement in the deaths of Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli and his interpreter, Russian Andrei Mironov, near Sloviansk, Ukraine's Donetsk region, in 2014.

Markiv has been in custody since he was arrested in Bologna on June 30, 2017.


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