Brent Renaud

As Russian President Putin’s assault on Ukraine inches ever closer to Kyiv, an American journalist has been shot and killed. Reports from the Kyiv region police say that another journalist was wounded during the incident.

The journalist and his associate were in the town of Irpin, near the Irpin River. Brent Renaud was 50 years old. Brent Renaud was an award-winning filmmaker in addition to his journalistic contributions. Multiple news outlets are reporting that his photographer, Juan Arredondo, was wounded by Russian forces.

Arredondo is an adjunct professor at Columbia University, and he is also a World Press Photo winner. Arredondo shared that he and Renaud were traveling to Irpin “to film refugees escaping the town.” The journalist says that he and Renaud were fired on by Russian forces at a checkpoint. Arredondo told reporters that he believes he and Renaud “(drove) into an ambush.”

The chief, Andriy Nyebytov, spoke on Sunday regarding Renaud. He initially reported that Renaud was working for The New York Times, but the newspaper released a statement relating that Renaud was not currently employed by the media outlet. The statement read: “We are deeply saddened to hear of Brent Renaud’s death. Brent was a talented photographer and filmmaker who had contributed (to our paper) over the years.”

A Twitter post by The New York Times also noted that the last contribution to the paper by Renaud was in 2015.

Later, the media reported there was an error in the Kyiv regional police chief’s announcement due to Renaud’s wearing of a press badge stating he was representing The New York Times. Further inspection showed that the badge was issued for an event that took place several years ago.

A spokesperson for The New York Times spoke on Renaud’s career: “Brent’s death is a terrible loss. Brave journalists like Brent take tremendous risks to bear witness and to tell the world about the devastation and suffering caused by Russian’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Renaud is thought to be the first American journalist killed in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the neighboring country on February 25. The fighting has gone on for eighteen days as of press time, and, although Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that he is still open to diplomatic resolution to the conflict, there seems to be no end in sight.

Fox News and other news outlets are reporting that, according to a statement by the photographer, Renaud was shot in the neck. A reporter for PBS Newshour, Jane Ferguson, tweeted that an “outraged” Ukrainian police officer shouted at her to “tell America, tell the world, what they (Russian troops) did to a journalist.” Fox News’ Trey Yingst said that Renaud’s death is a prime example of what journalists (working in the midst of a conflict) go through.

The Kyvi region police chief claims that the killing of Renaud was intentional: “The occupiers are cynically killing even journalist of international media who are trying to show the truth about the atrocities of Russian troops in Ukraine.”

Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor, told CNN on Sunday morning that (if the killing of Renaud by Russians is confirmed) “it is a shocking and horrifying event. It is one more example of the brutality of Vladimir Putin and his forces.” However, there is no talk of retaliation for the incident.

Russia has also targeted a Ukraine military base just ten – twelve miles from the Polish border. Reports hold that 35 people were killed. Just forty-eight hours before the invasion took place on February 25, a group of Florida National Guard troops had been at this base training Ukrainian soldiers. Pundits say this could be a message to Poland, who has been negotiating with the United States in order to provide MiG 29 planes to the Ukrainian military.

This morning, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy visited Ukrainian troops injured by fighting since the invasion took place eighteen days ago.