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The war in Ukraine has claimed the life of award-winning American journalist and filmmaker, Brent Renaudwho was shot this Sunday on the outskirts of Kiev by Russian troops, as confirmed by local Ukrainian authorities, ending the career of this 50-year-old professional marked by risk coverage in war and violence zones.

The journalist was in Ukraine preparing a project on the global refugee crisis for Time, as confirmed by the editor-in-chief of the American magazine, Edward Felsenthal. “Brent covered the toughest stories around the world,” he said in a statement. “It is essential that journalists can safely cover the current invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine,” he added.

Renaud was killed in Irpín, in the Kiev oblast, according to what he indicated. the chief of police in the Kiev region, Andriy Nebitov, who initially claimed that the journalist was working for New York Times because he was carrying a newspaper ID with his name on it.

After the initial confusion, the New York newspaper itself clarified in a statement that Renoud had collaborated with this medium, but that his last participation had been in 2015 and the newspaper had not sent the journalist to Ukraine.

It remains unclear why The New York Times ID was on him when he died. “Initial reports that she had worked for the Times circulated because she was carrying a Times ID that had been issued for a job many years ago,” the newspaper said without elaborating.

Renaud, who used to work on film and journalistic projects with his brother Craig, had covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the revolutions in Egypt and Libya and the earthquake in Haiti, in addition to the violence of the drug cartels in Mexico and the refugee crisis in Central America, as explained by the brothers on their website. Both had collaborated with great American media such as The New York Times itself, HBO or Vice.

The brothers began producing their documentaries for television in the early 2000s, but their big break came in 2014 when they won a Peabody Award for the documentary Last Chance High, which focuses on an educational center in the United States that hosts to students with different disorders and that they made for Vice.

They were also awarded the DuPont Prize from Columbia University in 2012, according to IMDB, for the documentary Surviving Haiti’s Earthquake: Children.

Some colleagues who are also posted to Kiev witnessed the moments after the incident in which Renaud lost his life and in which the American photographer Juan Arredondo was also injured. The American PBS correspondent Jane Ferguson indicated on her Twitter account that “Ukrainian doctors could not do anything to help him” on the road where he was attacked.

Ferguson also said that a Ukrainian police officer “outraged” at the journalist’s death told him: “Tell the United States, tell the world, what they have done to a journalist.”

Another journalist was injured

Brent Renaud was not the only informer who was in the car attacked by Russian troops when he was killed. The photojournalist Juan Arredondo accompanied him and had to receive medical assistance.

From the hospital he offered in a video the first statements about what happened. As she explained, both journalists they were on their way to film the refugees who was trying to flee from the siege of the Russian troops when they decided to take a car to move to a bridge to take pictures.

“We went through a checkpoint and they started shooting at us,” even though the driver tried to turn around to go back, he said.

The journalist regretted that after the shots he lost track of Renaud and could only see that “he was shot in the neck”. “We separated and they brought me to the hospital,” she said after assuring that at that time she did not know what had happened to the American journalist.

RSF asks to investigate

Following the tragic incident, Reporters Without Borders has called for the facts of Renaud’s death to be clarified. The organization defending the rights of informants has assured that they are “shocked” after hearing the news and have urged “journalists in Ukraine to take extreme precautions.”

Jake Sullivan, White House National Security Adviser, who learned of the event moments before being interviewed on the CNN television network, has also been shocked. “It is one more example of the brutality of Vladimir Putin and his forces,” he stated in his first reaction to the news.

With Renaud’s death, at least 10 journalists have died in Ukraine since 2014, when Russia occupied Crimea, according to data collected by the Efe agency. The first was Vyacheslav Veremiy, who works for the Ukrainian newspaper Vesti, died in Kiev in February of that year. The list is completed by an Italian informant, five Russians, another Ukrainian and a Belarusian.

Russia-Ukraine War


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