Brent Renaud, a 50-year-old American journalist and documentary filmmaker, had experience covering war situations. He had documented the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and was now in Ukraine to report on that conflict in the heart of Europe. This Sunday, when he was driving through a roadblock in Irpin, a town located 25 kilometers from Kiev, together with the American photographer of Colombian origin Juan Arredondo and his Ukrainian driver, his vehicle was shot at. Renaud was shot in the neck which killed him, while his two traveling companions were injured. He is the second reporter to die covering the war in Ukraine caused by the Russian invasion on February 24. Ukrainian camera operator Yevhenii Sakun lost his life on March 2 in the bombing of the Kiev communication tower.
“We were crossing the first bridge in Irpin. We were going to record other refugees who were leaving [de la localidad]. Someone offered us a car to take us to the other bridge and when we crossed the checkpoint they started shooting at us. The driver turned around but they kept shooting”, Arredondo explained in a video recorded while he was being treated on a stretcher at the Okhmatdyt hospital in Kiev. “My friend Brent Renaud had a shot in the neck and stayed behind. We parted ways ”, emphasizes the professional who, at that time, claimed to be unaware of the fate of his partner.
Renaud’s death was initially confirmed by the Kiev Police, who blamed Russian forces for the shooting. At first, it was disclosed that Renaud worked for New York Times, an extreme denied by that newspaper, which specified that the journalist had collaborated with them in the past, but that he was not covering the war in Ukraine for that header. The newspaper attributed the misunderstanding to the fact that the documentary director had an old press card with him at the time of his death that identified him as his collaborator.. Renaud is the second journalist to die covering the Russian offensive on Ukraine, although since 2014, when the armed conflict broke out in the east of the country, in the Ukrainian region of Donbas, another nine reporters have perished while covering the fighting.
Shortly after the cameraman’s death, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) organization called for an investigation to clarify the attack, while the United States government promised to apply “appropriate consequences” and noted that it is in contact with the Ukrainian authorities to achieve more. information about the incident. According to his personal website, Renaud frequently worked with his brother Craig in the production of documentaries and television shows and had received the prestigious Peabody Award for his work.
“We are shocked and saddened by the death of American journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine. These types of attacks are completely unacceptable and are a violation of international law,” Carlos Martínez de la Serna, program director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said in a statement.
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The attack in which Brent Renaud died was preceded by others against journalists in the 18 days that this war has lasted. On February 26, reporter Stefan Weichert and photographer Emil Filtenborg Mikkelsen of the Danish newspaper Ekstra-Bladetwere on their way to report on a bombed-out kindergarten in the northeastern city of Ohtyrka when their car was shot at and they both suffered serious gunshot wounds despite wearing bulletproof vests.
On March 4, a Sky News crew had to be evacuated after its five members were shot at again, which they blamed on Russian forces, in Bucha, near Kiev.