What do we know about Mattia Sorbi, the Italian journalist injured in Ukraine – Il Post

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On Thursday 8 September, the Italian media spread the news that a Milanese journalist, Mattia Sorbi, had been seriously injured on the front of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kherson: The story of how he got there and who is responsible for his injury is unclear in many respects and has been told in two very different versions from Russia and Ukraine. Sorbi was in Ukraine to follow the war as a freelance and collaborated with some international newspapers, but in the past he had also worked for Rai And Republic. At the moment it appears that you are in a Russian-controlled hospital in Kherson, in stable health.

Two days before it became known in Italy that Sorbi had been injured, on 6 September, the German journalist Arndt Ginzel – also in Ukraine and in contact with Sorbi – had written a post on Facebook saying he was worried about his colleague’s condition, since he hadn’t heard from him since 31 August. On the morning of that day Sorbi had written to Ginzel that he would be moving from Mykolaiv to Oleksandrivka, in the Kherson region, in an area considered to be very at risk because it is close to the front. Ginzel had written that he hadn’t been able to contact him since the afternoon of the same day.

On the afternoon of Thursday 8 September, the Italian newspapers began to write that Sorbi was seriously injured in the explosion of a mine, shortly after arriving by taxi in the front area. There are different versions of how many people traveled with him, but it is certain that the driver who traveled with him died. Sorbi, on the other hand, was injured in the leg and intestines, and had to undergo at least one surgery. Exactly when Sorbi’s injury occurred is not clear, but it is quite likely that it dates back to a few days before 8 September.

An image of the car in which Mattia Sorbi and the driver who accompanied him were traveling, released by the Russian Defense Ministry (EPA / RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY PRESS)

ThursdayHANDLE he reported also a statement from sources of the Foreign Ministry, which up to that moment had not intervened on the matter: they said to be in “constant contact” with the journalist, to have “positive news on his state of health” and to be working “to get him safely back to Italy as soon as possible”.

However, it seems that the Foreign Ministry had already moved several days to bring Sorbi back to Italy and that he was in contact with his family: it is likely that he was trying to complete the diplomatic operation before any media speculation. However, it seems that Sorbi’s health conditions still do not allow him to travel.

Shortly after the news broke in Italy, the Russian Defense Ministry he wrote on his Telegram channel his version of the facts: he basically said that two Ukrainian soldiers had deceived Sorbi and had specially accompanied him to an area mined by Ukrainian forces in an attempt to kill him, so as to be able to publicly accuse Russia of the murder in Western media .

This story has some inconsistencies with what Ginzel wrote: the Russian Defense Ministry says for example that Sorbi would have moved on August 29, while for the German journalist – who published a chat with Sorbi – the trip from Mykolaiv took place two days. after. There is no evidence from Ginzel’s account that Sorbi was accompanied for part of the journey by two Ukrainian soldiers.

On Telegram, the Russian Defense Ministry has also published a video of Sorbi, evidently suffering, in the hospital bed, in which he tries with difficulty to explain what happened to him. In a very fragmented video with several cuts in the editing, Sorbi says: “We took a taxi and went to Oleksandrivka. We were told she was safe. Mina ».

According to the Russian version, it was a Russian soldier who saved him from the burning car and then took him to the hospital, where he was hospitalized in intensive care.

A few hours later, the Strategic Center for Communication and Security Information of the Ukrainian Ministry of Information denied the Russian version, and released another. He wrote that Sorbi had gone to a very dangerous area despite being advised against by the authorities, that there were no Ukrainian soldiers with him and that the fixer – that is, a local person who usually accompanies foreign journalists and gives them useful information – had refused to accompany him. He also said that Sorbi had previously collaborated with Russian state media.

Sorbi had been working as a freelance abroad for many years, and had been in various countries in risky situations: last year, for example, he had stayed in Afghanistan for a long time after the Taliban had returned to power, and had collaborated with several Italian media.

According to some people who have worked with him in Ukraine in recent weeks and who knew him, Sorbi used to move alone and without fixer: pay a fixer it is much more expensive than getting around in a simple taxi, and it is not always possible for a freelance journalist to afford one.

It is very likely that neither version – Russian and Ukrainian – is completely true, but both contain elements of truth. It also circulated a message that Sorbi would have written on Facebook to reassure those who know him, in which he says he is safe and that he will still need a few days. The reliability of the profile is also questionable: it was created on Thursday and is different from the one usually used by Sorbi.

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What do we know about Mattia Sorbi, the Italian journalist injured in Ukraine – Il Post

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