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Kevin, the Italian mercenary who fights against Moscow

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Kevin, the Italian mercenary who fights against Moscow

A diversion had hissed at the parents, one evening in late April at the table while the images of the Tg were hammering on the war in Ukraine: “I’ll be away to volunteer in Sanremo, it’s an initiative linked to my political activity”. After a week in which contacts had restricted to a few WhatsApp messages, his mother’s cell phone rang and Kevin Chiappalone, a 19-year-old Genoese student and militant of the neo-fascist CasaPound movement, was speaking from the outskirts of Kiev having assumed the nom de guerre “Alexander”. “I am here, with the militias of the International Brigade fighting against the Russian invasion. I believe in what I do, I will update you ». Contacted briefly yesterday, he confirms that he is in the theater of war and relaunches: «I am amazed by the media attention on my story».

Chiappalone is at the center of an investigation opened by the Genoa Public Prosecutor’s Office, which accuses him of being an outlawed mercenary, having violated a specific law of 1995 that punishes untitled enlistment for foreign armies. It is the first file known to be borne by pro-Ukrainians, he risks up to seven years and his father Filippo thinks: “He cannot have done everything by himself and I find it paradoxical that Italy is part of a coalition from which arms are supplied to Ukraine, but my son cannot return to Italy because they would arrest him, for having gone to fight in support of the same Ukraine ». The investigations are conducted by the prosecutor Marco Zocco, of the Anti-Mafia and Counter-Terrorism Directorate, who long ago sent the Digos to Kevin’s home, in the Sestri Ponente neighborhood, to try to understand from his family members, and from the examination of the devices, who is how she had convinced him to go to war. According to the police, Chiappalone reached Poland by plane and from there he crossed the border using a bus, together with peers from other countries.

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The last phone call was precise a week ago, but the traces scattered on social networks are especially useful in reconstructing the movements. On August 1, she posted a snapshot via Instagram in which she shows her middle finger, holds a light machine gun, wears a helmet and has her face hidden by a pair of dark glasses and a balaclava. In another image, sheltered in a forest, she observes the horizon with binoculars. Instead, the frame in which she holds a small specimen of German shepherd in her arms is on 6 June and quotes Charles M. Schulz, the author of Linus: «Happiness is a warm puppy». Under the post, however, to an acquaintance who asks him how he is, he replies “the day before yesterday I lost a friend.”

Significant in the eyes of those who investigate is then a photograph shown previously: here he is with two boys, military clothes and an uncovered and smiling face in Krakow, Poland, on April 29, a few days before the volunteers (with him there is a Spaniard) crossed the border into Ukraine. At the moment, crossing inquiries and communications with family members, and although the 19-year-old is always evasive about his position, it is considered likely that he mostly moves in the Kharkiv area.

What contacts made the trip from Italy possible, what was the matrix of the choice? “I decided to leave after hearing Putin say that he had attacked Ukraine to denazify it, there is a battle to be fought against a bloodthirsty giant”. These are the phrases that Kevin would have repeated in the days before the disappearance, to the closest circle of acquaintances and to the lawyer who assisted him having been denounced for the possession of a brass knuckle, found following a check in the street and after the ‘had repeatedly intercepted neo-fascist processions, in Liguria and beyond. «I would not want them to exploit him now – insists his father -. I am a welder, I spoke to some Ukrainian colleagues and it was clear to them, like me, that it could not have been an individual initiative. It is true that he would have liked to be in the military, but his practice was limited to airsoft ».

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Filippo has been struggling for weeks with Tiziana, his wife and mother of the student, and his thoughts always go to militancy for the ultra-right and the commitment to CasaPound. «The link had been a schoolmate, at first it seemed that the commitment was focused on social issues, then it took a different turn. There was not too much talk of politics at home: we have always voted, ok, but there is also a lot of disenchantment. I think we need to explore his militancy, to understand how the idea of ​​organizing a trip to Ukraine was born ».

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