Italian photojournalist Rocchelli, 30, was killed outside the eastern city of Sloviansk, after a mortar shell exploded in the ditch where he and his fixer, Andrei Mironov, were hiding from an unexpected attack, regional and international press reported. A French photojournalist, William Roguelon, was also wounded in the attack, reports said.
Rocchelli, Mironov, and Roguelon were covering clashes in Sloviansk between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia separatists at the time of the attack, according to news reports. Roguelon, who works for the French news agency Wostok Press, said they were traveling by car in the village of Andreyevka, outside Sloviansk when their car was attacked first by gunfire and then mortar shelling. Roguelon fled from the vehicle, while Rocchelli and Mironov took shelter in a nearby ditch, where they were killed by shrapnel, reports said.
Rocchelli was the founder of Cesura photo agency and contributed to various international publications including Newsweek magazine and Le Monde newspaper, reports said. Mironov, 60, was a well-known Russian human rights activist with the prominent human rights organization Memorial. According to the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Russian service, both journalists had documented human rights issues in conflict zones.