Italian paratrooper Francesco Estatico (aka Barbaro) who served in 5th Paratroopers Battalion “El Alamein” in Siena has been detained in Ukraine on his way to Alchevsk located in uncontrolled part of Lugansk Region on September 16 and 3 days later on September 19 he was detained again at another Ukrainian checkpoint located few kilometers away from Donetsk. Francesco explained that he was going to join rebels army to fight against Ukrainian troops. So far it’s not clear how he managed to escape after he was detained 1st time on his way to Lugansk.
The photo above was posted by Francesco at his profile on Facebook, there is also some other interesting info there, see it at https://www.facebook.com/francesco.estatico He also specifies that he’s currently working in Italian Army.
The information 1st leaked from Sergiy Shakun who works in military-civilian administration of Lugansk Region. See his post here. Below we translated it into English.
On September 16 in Novotoshkivske village suspicious young man was detained. He didn’t speak Russian or Ukrainian. It appeared that he was a foreigner. Thanks to representative of OSCE we managed to find out that this guy was from Naples and was looking for “his mother” here. Representative of military-civil administration together with a soldier of “Lugansk-1″ battalion passed “Italian” to border guards on Lysychansk checkpoint. Later we found out that this “client” served in different foreign armies and had no information about his mother. Right now Security Service of Ukraine verifies the information about that guy.
– Sergiy Shakun
Obviously Security Service of Ukraine didn’t arrest the Italian guy and let him go, because 3 days later on September 19 Francesco Estatico was detained by Ukrainian border guards in Donetsk Region near Mayorsk located on the contact line few kilometers from Donetsk. This was reported by Rodion Shovkoshytnyi who is a member of special forces unit that fights against smugglers near the front line. See his post here.
Francesco Estatico gave written explanation about how and why he got to Ukraine and what he planned to do. See the copy below.
His note is written in bad English and ironically he also doesn’t know how to spell Donbass right.
My name is Francesco “Barbaro” Estatico. I came in Ukraine with passport and personal documents. Passport number YA8335453.
I came in Ukraine for join the independent Dombass Republics Army because Ukrainian troops has destroyed the life of the Dombass’s people and I come for help them fighting them. I come alone.
– Francesco “Barbaro” Estatico, 19 September 2015
Francesco Estatico had a map of his route and according to that his destination point was Alchevsk located on the territory of Lugansk Region controlled by so-called Lugansk People’s Republic. He marked his way from Kharkiv to Svatove, next point was Rubizhne, next point is Severodonetsk and further his route goes directly to Alchevsk via last Ukraine controlled Novotoshkivkse village. The contact line that he was going to cross is also marked on his map. See his Google Map below. By the way the tittle of the map is “Lugansk Region” and it’s all in Russian, that means he printed the map when he was already in Ukraine.
Below are some other docs that Francesco Estatico had with him and a photo from his phone where he’s in Italian military uniform.
So why he was going to Alchevsk. Since the beginning of military conflict on the East of Ukraine Alchevsk was under control of Aleksey Mozgovoy who was ideologist of Novorossiya movement and didn’t recognize so-called Lugansk People’s Republic. And because of that Mozgovoy was killed by Russian special forces unit at the end of May. Mozgovoy recruited not only locals, but he became very popular in other countries, so a lot of radical communists from Italy, Spain, Serbia, France and so on were travelling to Alchevsk to join his “Prizrak” brigade.
For example on May 14 2015 Aleksey Mozgovoy uploaded video to his YouTube channel called “Unbelievable Adventures of Foreigners in Novorossiya” about foreigners who come to join his brigade and there are guys in military uniform with Italian insignia. Here is screenshot from the video.
And here is the video.
UPDATE September 20, 2015. State Border Guard Service of Ukraine confirmed detention of Italian citizen who was going to join terrorist armed groups.
Officers of State Border Guard Service of Ukraine detained Italian citizen in “Zaitseve” checkpoint located on the contact line in Donetsk Region.
Italian arrive to the checkpoint in the morning of September 19. After his documents were checked and after conversation with him border guards found out that he was going to take part in military conflict on the East of Ukraine on the side of illegal armed groups.
Right now Italian citizen is detained and he was given to Security Service of Ukraine for further investigation.
See report of State Border Guard Service of Ukraine at http://dpsu.gov.ua