BY Associated Press

Italian journalist and Russian interpreter killed in Ukraine

Italian foreign ministry says Ronchelli killed along with interpreter Andrey Mironov, but bodies have not yet been formally identified

[Original headline: Italian journalist Andrea Ronchelli killed in 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 have said.

The Italian foreign ministry said Andrea Rocchelli, 30, was killed on Saturday in Slavyansk, the flashpoint of some of the most intense battles of recent weeks.

The 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 attack.

Insurgents in Slavyansk, who have engaged in daily fighting with government forces, said the journalists came under fire from Ukrainian troops late on Saturday, but that claim could not be independently confirmed.

In Kiev, Ukraine's interior ministry declined to provide details about what had 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.

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Source: Associated Press via The Guardian