An American freelance journalist was shot and killed in Ukraine after a car came under fire near a checkpoint outside Kiev, but it was unclear who targeted the vehicle.
Ukrainian officials say video journalist Brent Renaud was killed “in fighting” over the weekend in Irpin, a suburb of Kiev and now a war frontline, while another reporter was wounded during the incident.
An adviser to Ukrainian interior ministry, Anton Gerashchenko, said Renaud "sacrificed his life trying to show the insidiousness, cruelty and ruthlessness of the aggressor."
'We crossed the first bridge in Irpin, we were going to film other refugees leaving, and we got into a car, someone offered to take us to the other bridge...'
Gerashchenko did not provide details about the incident but shared a video of an unidentified man in camouflage with Ukrainian police badge announcing Renaud's death.
But another man wounded during the incident, US photojournalist Juan Arredondo, said he and Renaud were on their way to film refugees evacuating the city when the assault took place.
“We crossed the first bridge in Irpin, we were going to film other refugees leaving, and we got into a car, someone offered to take us to the other bridge and we crossed the checkpoint, and they started shooting at us,” he said.
Arredondo, a Colombian-American photographer who is also an adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School, made the comment live on camera as he was being prepped for surgery at Kiev’s Okhmatdyt hospital.
Renaud had worked on human crisis documentaries around the world with his brother Craig, who is also a filmmaker, while a photo uploaded on Facebook by the account “Renaud Brothers” showed refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Previous work included an assignment with The New York Times in 2015, but the US media network clarified in a statement that Renaud “was not on assignment for any desk at the Times in Ukraine.”
Details on who shot journalists still unclear
Both Washington and Moscow on Sunday suggested the circumstances of Renaud’s death were unclear.
While Arredondo did not provide any details about who shot at the vehicle, Kiev’s police chief Andriy Nebitov suggested it was Russian troops.
“The invaders cynically kill even international media journalists who are trying to show the truth about the atrocities of Russian troops in Ukraine,” Nebitov wrote on Facebook.
US security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday told CNN that he was still seeking details but added Renaud’s death would be yet another example of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "brutality."