Zelensky sends letter of condolence to family of American journalist killed in Ukraine war zone

‘Brent Renaud lost his life documenting human tragedy, devastation and suffering of millions of Ukrainians’

Andrew Buncombe
Monday 14 March 2022 20:53 GMT
National Security Adviser vows there will be 'appropriate consequences' for Russia's killing of Brent Renaud

Ukraine’spresident has sent a letter of condolence to the family of an American journalist killed in the war zone, and said his entire country is mourning with them.

Brent Renaud, 50, a renowned American filmmaker, was killed when Russian troops opened fire over the weekend close to Kyiv.

He had been on assignment for a Time Studios project “focused on the global refugee crisis”, according to Time, and had previously worked for the New York Times.

As tributes poured in about the filmmaker, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered his own condolences in a letter to his family.

He said he was a “talented and brave journalist” who had lost his life, that Mr Renaud “lost his life while documenting human tragedy, devastation and suffering of the millions of Ukrainians”.

Renaud, who was from Little Rock, Arkansas, native was gathering material for a report about refugees when his vehicle was hit at a checkpoint in Irpin, just outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said the area has sustained intense shelling by Russian forces in recent days.

“Somebody offered to take us to the other bridge, and we crossed a checkpoint, and they started shooting at us. So the driver turned around, and they kept shooting, two of us. My friend is Brent Renaud, and he’s been shot and left behind,” Mr Arredondo, who is also American, said on a video posted by a spokesperson for the hospital. “I saw him being shot in the neck, and we got split, and I got pulled.”

A British journalist for Fox News,  Benjamin Hall, was also taken to hospital after being injured in a separate incident in Kyiv, the network confirmed.

In his letter, Mr Zelensky said to Renaud’s family: “The people of Ukraine, who are fighting against the Russian regime to defend their Homeland and democracy in the world, are mourning with you.

“We are thankful to Brent for his professionalism and commitment to the values of compassion, ethics and justice.”

He concluded: “May Brent’s life, service and sacrifice inspire generations of people all around the world to stand up in fight for the forces of light against forces of darkness.”

There have been reports of other journalists being targeted, most prominently a team from Britain’s Sky News that came under fire close to Kyiv.

Anti-war protester interrupts Russian news anchor live on air

Groups promoting the rights of journalists have called on both sides sides of the conflict to abide with international laws that safeguard the media at work.

“Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its call to the Russian and Ukrainian authorities to comply with their international obligations to guarantee the safety of reporters in the field, and urges the latter to take the utmost care,” the group said earlier this month.

Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said in a statement that “Brent tackled the toughest stories around the world often alongside his brother Craig Renaud”.

He added: “Our hearts are with all of Brent’s loved ones. It is essential that journalists are able to safely cover this ongoing invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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