Jake Sullivan warns Russia the US will respond with ‘appropriate consequences’ to killing of Brent Renaud

Award-winning journalist Brent Renaud was shot and killed by Russian forces in Irpin on Sunday

Rachel Sharp
Monday 14 March 2022 20:32 GMT
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National Security Adviser vows there will be 'appropriate consequences' for Russia's killing of Brent Renaud

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has warned Russia that the US will respond with “appropriate consequences” to the “shocking and horrifying” killing of American journalist Brent Renaud.

Mr Sullivan told CBSFace the Nation on Sunday morning that he is consulting with US and Ukrainian officials to learn more about the 50-year-old’s death before taking action.

“This is obviously shocking and horrifying, and I’ve just learned about it as I came onto air here,” he said.

“So I will be consulting with my colleagues, we’ll be consulting with the Ukrainians to determine how this happened and then to measure and execute appropriate consequences as a result of it.”

He continued: “This is part and parcel of what has been the brazen aggression on the part of the Russians where they have targeted civilians, they have targeted hospitals, they have targeted places of worship and they have targeted journalists.”

The US State Department condemned the attack on the journalist and said that consular assistance was being offered to Mr Renaud’s family.

“We are horrified that journalists and filmmakers—noncombatants—have been killed and injured in Ukraine by Kremlin forces,” the department said in a statement on Twitter.

“This is yet another gruesome example of the Kremlin’s indiscriminate actions.”

The White House is yet to release a statement about the killing of Mr Renaud - believed to be the first death of a foreign journalist since Russia declared war on Ukraine back on 24 March.

The award-winning journalist was on an assignment in Ukraine with TIME magazine when Ukrainian officials said he was shot and killed by Russian forces on Sunday.

Brent Renaud pictured at the 74th Annual Peabody Awards in New York in 2015
Brent Renaud pictured at the 74th Annual Peabody Awards in New York in 2015 (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Kyiv’s chief of police Andriy Nebitov said in a social media post that Russian troops opened fire on a car Mr Renaud was inside close to a checkpoint in the city of Irpin.

Mr Nebitov shared photos of the 50-year-old’s body, his American passport and a New York Times press badge.

The New York Times released a statement saying that the press badge was from an old assignment and that Mr Renuad was not working for the paper at the time.

TIME confirmed later that the filmmaker had been “in the region working on a TIME Studios project focused on the global refugee crisis”.

Kyiv police condemned Russian forces that “cynically kill even journalists of international media, who’ve been trying to tell the truth about atrocities of Russian military in Ukraine.

“Of course, journalism carries risks, but the US citizen Brent Renaud paid with his life for an attempt to shed light on how underhand, cruel, and merciless the aggressor is.”

Kyiv police shared a photo of Brent Renaud’s press pass
Kyiv police shared a photo of Brent Renaud’s press pass ( Andriy Nebitov/Facebook)

Mr Nebitov also shared photos of the bullet-ridden car on Monday.

A second American journalist Juan Arredondo was also shot in the attack that killed Mr Renaud.

In a video filmed as he was being treated in a nearby hospital, he recalled how a group of foreign journalists were traveling through a checkpoint in Irpin on their way to film Ukrainian refugees fleeing the city.

He said they made their way across one of the first bridges in Irpin and got into a car headed to a second bridge, when they came under fire.

“Somebody offered to take us to the other bridge and we crossed a checkpoint, and they started shooting at us,” he said in the video shared online.

“So the driver turned around, and they kept shooting.”

American journalist Juan Arredondo speaks from hospital following attack

He said that Mr Renaud was shot and “left behind” in the ambush.

“There was two of us, my friend Brent Renaud, and he’s been shot and left behind… I saw he was shot in the neck,” he said.

A third journalist also traveling in the same car was also wounded, according to Ukrainian officials.

Hours after the attack on the journalists, Irpin Mayor Oleksandr Markushyn said journalists would be denied entry to the city in order “to save the lives of both them and our defenders”.

Mr Renaud was a widely-acclaimed documentary filmmaker, producer and journalist who, alongside his brother Craig Renaud, won the 2014 Peabody Award for the documentary Last Chance High.

Throughout his career, he worked as a contributor to several outlets including Vice, the New York Times and TIME and had traveled the world, covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the 2011 earthquake in Haiti.

The bullet-ridden car from the aftermath of the ambush of foreign journalists in Ukraine
The bullet-ridden car from the aftermath of the ambush of foreign journalists in Ukraine ( Andriy Nebitov/Facebook)

President Vladimir Putin’s forces have repeatedly targeted journalists covering the war in Ukraine while also censoring coverage and threatening the media with prison time back in Russia.

Back on 1 March, Ukrainian journalist and cameraman Yevhenii Sakun was one of five people killed when Russian forces shelled a TV tower in Kyiv.

Just days later, two journalists for Sky News were shot by Russian forces but survived.

Anthony Bellanger, general secretary for the International Federation of Journalists, said the deaths of journalists reporting on the war “cannot go unpunished.”

“The authorities must do everything possible to identify the perpetrators of these war crimes,” he said in a statement.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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