An American journalist covering the war in Ukraine was killed outside Kiev on Sunday, the 18th day of the Russian invasion, as he tried to document Ukrainians seeking to leave the country.
Local police chief Andri Niebitov said Brent Renaud, 50, was shot by Russian forces who opened fire on a car near Irpin, a city under constant shelling from Moscow for the past week. The information, however, could not be independently confirmed. Increasingly depleted, Irpin has many armed civilians and little or no prior training.
The city sees fighting intensify in its surroundings, in the municipality of Bucha and in the area of the airport of Hostomel. Thus, it is not possible to rule out that the shots came from Ukrainian troops.
Juan Arredondo, a journalist who was with Renaud at the time of the attack, was wounded, with shrapnel in his leg, and was taken to the Okhmatdit children’s hospital, the largest in Kiev.
In a video posted on the hospital’s Instagram profile, Arredondo reports that he and his colleague had crossed a bridge in Irpin and passed a checkpoint when they were shot at.
“We crossed a checkpoint, and they started shooting at us. Then the driver turned around, and they kept shooting. There are two of us. My friend is Brent Renaud, and he was shot and left behind… I I saw him getting shot in the neck,” said the journalist while being treated on a stretcher.
In the place in question, an avenue that crosses Irpin and gives access to Bucha, a group of local militiamen commands the post that gives access to a Ukrainian army base, improvised inside a set of residential buildings in which the military can observe Russian movements. on the horizon.
In the last 24 hours, Russian troops intensified attacks on the site, with strong mortar batteries, which reached the avenue. Around the city, reports say that a massive Russian attack is about to happen in the next few hours, which has raised the level of tension and alert among Ukrainian soldiers.
Hours before the incident, the employee of the sheet André Liohn, accompanied by two other colleagues, was met with hostility at the same checkpoint. One of the militiamen responsible for guarding the place even threatened the reporter from a distance with a Kalashnikov rifle.
Local police speak of two wounded, without specifying who the other person is, but the two men were hit inside a car driven by a Ukrainian civilian, who was also injured, Danilo Shapovalov, a doctor involved with the attacks, told AFP news agency. Ukrainian forces who took care of the victims.
According to The New York Times, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said in a statement that Renaud “paid with his life for trying to expose the cruelty of the attackers”.
Renaud was initially identified as a reporter for the New York Times, but the company released a statement mourning the death and stating that the professional had last contributed to the daily in 2015. “Although he has contributed to the New York Times in the past, he was not in Ukraine at the service of any section of the newspaper,” he said. “Early news that he was working for the New York Times circulated because he was wearing a company pass obtained on an assignment many years ago.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an organization that has monitored journalistic activity for more than four decades, mourned Renaud’s death and called for freedom of the press to be guaranteed in the conflict. “This type of attack constitutes a violation of international law,” said Carlos Martínez de la Serna, CPJ’s director in New York. “Russian forces in Ukraine must stop violence against journalists and civilians, and whoever killed Renaud must be held accountable.”
The Nieman Foundation, a project focused on journalism and supported by Harvard University, in the United States, where Renaud studied, also spoke out. Ann Marie Lipinski, trustee of the foundation, said on twitter that the reporter was talented and kind and that his work was always permeated with humanity.
Brent Renaud was divided between New York and the city of Little Rock, in the state of Arkansas. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with media outlets such as The New York Times, HBO, Discovery Channel and NBC.
The journalist had already recorded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the effects of earthquakes in Haiti, the dispute between drug cartels in Mexico and the political upheaval in Egypt. He used to work with his brother Craig, with whom he founded the film production company Renaud Brothers.
The producer’s last Facebook post, published five days ago, features a photo of Ukrainian families waiting for transport to flee the conflict. The Renaud brothers have won major awards such as Peabody, IDA, Overseas Press Club, Columbia Dupont and Edward R. Murrow.
The American is the second media professional killed in the war. Ukrainian cameraman Ievhenii Sakun, 49, died on March 1 during a Russian attack on a TV tower in Kiev, when four other people were also killed. It covered the conflict for the Live LAN.
Other professionals were injured. On March 5, journalist Stuart Ramsay and cameraman Richie Mockler, who worked for the British network Sky News, were shot during an ambush outside Kiev. They have now returned to the UK.
Reporter Stefan Weichert and photographer Emil Filtenborg Mikkelsen, both Danes, who had been based in Ukraine for two years, also suffered injuries as they were on their way to a bombed day care center in the northeastern town of Ohtirka.