Markiv was sentenced to 14 years in prison / Photo from UNIAN

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte have discussed the case of Ukrainian guardsman Vitaliy Markiv, who has been convicted and sentenced to 24-year imprisonment in Italy.

"I understand that the Prime Minister cannot influence the Italian court. But I showed in detail what happened there, at what distance he [Markiv] was from the murder scene. And that we have to take the man [back home]," the president said, according to the presidential press service.

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Markiv's mother thanked Zelensky for his efforts to help release her son. "We are very grateful for this visit. We are really happy. It is very important for Vitaliy. With such support, Vitaly believes that everything will end well. He is ready and wants to return to Ukraine," she woman said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, deputy commander of a platoon of the Ukrainian National Guard's first battalion, senior sergeant Markiv was detained in Italy on June 30, 2017, on suspicion of the murder of Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrei Mironov amid a mortar attack in Donetsk region in May 2014.

According to the Ukrainian investigation, the two were killed in shelling by Russian-led troops. Ukrainian National Guard officials insisted that the Ukrainian battalion was not armed with mortars in 2014.

The jury in the court of Italy's Pavia on July 12, 2019, sentenced the Ukrainian guardsman to 24 years in prison. He is also to pay compensation to Rocchelli's family.

Zelensky ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prosecutor General's Office to immediately address the issue of Markiv's return to Ukraine.

On November 20, Ukraine filed an appeal against Markiv's verdict. It is to be considered by a Lombardy appellate court in the spring of 2020.