An American freelance filmmaker has been shot dead by Russian troops while filming refugees in Irpin, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Brent Renaud, 50, was in a car with other journalists in Irpin, near Kyiv, when Russian troops opened fire. He was shot dead and one of his colleagues was injured.
Initially, he was thought to have been on assignment for The New York Times because he was carrying a press badge that listed the newspaper as his publication but it has since emerged he was working on a global film about refugees.
Renaud’s death was announced by Andrey Nebitov, the head of Kyiv’s police department, who said in a Facebook post that he paid ‘with his life for trying to highlight the aggressor’s ingenuity, cruelty and ruthlessness.’ He also shared a video, taken by a police officer at the scene, who said a third journalist was wounded.
Another US journalist who survived the attack spoke to a reporter for Italian paper Internazionale from the hospital.
Juan Arredondo said Renaud had been shot in the neck and ‘had to be left behind’.
‘We had crossed the first bridge in Irpin. We were going to film other refugees leaving we got into a car. Somebody offered to take us to the other bridge. We crossed a checkpoint and they started shooting at us. The driver turned around, there were two of us. My friend is Brent Renaud. He has been shot and left behind. I saw he has been shot in the neck. We got split,’ he said.
The White House has not yet commented on Renaud’s death but National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called it ‘shocking and horrifying.’ He said the US would consult with Ukrainian officials about what to do next.
It remains unclear if Biden will retaliate against Putin. Earlier on Sunday, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said Putin is finally starting to show signs of ‘willingness’ to negotiate to end the war but that up until now he has seemed ‘intent on destroying Ukraine’.
This is the badge freelance journalist Brent Renaud was carrying when he was shot and killed in Irpin, Ukraine, today while filming refugees
The other US journalist in the truck is Juan Arreondo. He is shown in the hospital speaking to an Italian newspaper about how they were driving across a bridge when Russian troops opened fire on them after a checkpoint
Colombian American photographer Juan Arredondo survived the attack. He is in the hospital now being treated for a gunshot wound
PBS reporter Jane Ferguson tweeted from the scene on Sunday that Ukrainian police are ‘outraged’ by the killing. The US has not commented
Renaud was filming a global film about refugees when he was killed in Irpin on Sunday. It is a suburb of Kyiv, which many are fleeing this week
Putin shows ‘willingness’ to negotiate, US says
Russia is showing signs of a willingness to engage in substantive negotiations over Ukraine, even as Moscow currently is intent on ‘destroying’ its neighbor, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Sunday.
Sherman, in an interview with ‘Fox News Sunday’, said the United States is putting ‘enormous pressure’ on Russian President Vladimir Putin to agree to a cease-fire in its weeks-old invasion of Ukraine and to allow the creation of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to escape.
‘That pressure is beginning to have some effect. We are seeing some signs to have real, serious negotiations. But I have to say… so far it appears Vladimir Putin is intent on destroying Ukraine,’ Sherman said.
Earlier, she said: ‘Right now it looks like it ends very badly already for the Ukrainian people. It is just awful. Particularly in Mauripol where people are going to starve to death or freeze to death or die because they don’t have their medicine. It is truly horrifying.
‘There are two objectives that we have – one is to support Ukraine in every way we can. The second is to put enormous pressure on Vladimir Putin to change his calculus to either end this war, get a ceasefire in the first instance and to get humanitarian corridors.
‘That pressure is beginning to have some effect we are seeing signs of willingness to have real, serious negotiations but I have to say so far, it appears Vladimir Putin is intent on destroying Ukraine,’ she said.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in an appearance on CNN on Sunday morning: ‘If in fact, an American journalist was killed it is a shocking and horrifying event.
‘It is one more example of the brutality of Vladimir Putin and his forces as they target schools, mosques, hospitals and journalists.
‘It is why we are working so hard to impose severe consequences on him and to try to help Ukrainians with every type of military assistance we can muster to be able to push back against the onslaught of these Russian forces.’
PBS reporter Jane Ferguson, who is in Ukraine, tweeted: ‘Just left roadside spot near Irpin where body of American journalist Brent Renaud lay under a blanket. Ukrainian medics could do nothing to help him by that stage.
‘Outraged Ukrainian police officer: “Tell America, tell the world, what they did to a journalist.”’
Tributes are now pouring in to Renaud.
Christof Putzel, a friend who worked with him, told The Associated Press: ‘This guy was the absolute best.
‘He was just the absolute best war journalist that I know.
‘This is a guy who literally went to every conflict zone.’
The Times has issued a statement to clarify that while Renaud worked for them in the past, he was not in Ukraine on assignment for them.
‘We are deeply saddened to hear of Brent Renaud’s death. Brent was a talented photographer and filmmaker who contributed to The New York Times over the years.
‘Early reports that he worked for The Times circulated because he was wearing a Times press badge that had been issued for an assignment many years ago,’ Cliff Levy, Deputy Managing Editor, said in a statement.
He added: ‘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 Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.’
The White House has not commented on Renaud’s death.
President Biden has taken a firm stance on not sending American troops into the conflict.
He has instead sanctioned Putin economically, along with the rest of the Western world, and has given Zelensky arms and aid.
On February 15, he warned: ‘We are not seeking direct confrontation with Russia, though I have been clear that if Russia targets Americans in Ukraine, we will respond forcefully.’
Renaud with his brother, another filmmaker. The pair are experienced in conflict zones and are understood to have been filming refugees crossing the border when they were killed
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in an appearance on CNN on Sunday morning: ‘If in fact, an American journalist was killed it is a shocking and horrifying event. It is one more example of the brutality of Vladimir Putin and his forces as they target schools, mosques, hospitals and journalists.’
Irpin, the city west of Kyiv where Renaud was working alongside another journalist when he was shot and killed on Sunday in Ukraine
Refugees march across a destroyed bridge in Irpin on Saturday as they try to flee the region. Renaud was filming more today when he was shot and killed
A Ukrainian man helps an elderly woman flee the city of Irpin as it comes under attack by Russian forces on March 12
Ukrainian troops in Irpin on Sunday carrying rocket-propelled grenades. The city is next to the capital of Kyiv
A home on fire in the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, where Renaud was working on Sunday
The New York Times’ Deputy Managing Editor Cliff Levy tweeted that Renaud was not on assignment for the newspaper when he was killed
Renaud born in Tennessee but is understood to have lived in Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s unclear if he is married or if he has a family.
He is best known for working with his brother, Craig, on films including a series that aired on the Discovery Channel about soldiers from Arkansas deployed to Afghanistan.
Putin’s army is now expanding its assault on Ukraine and targeting cities that are closer to NATO ground. On Sunday, explosions were heard in the western city of Lviv, a haven for refugees.
As the war continued, Pope Francis on Sunday begged Putin to stop the fighting.
‘In the name of God, I ask you, stop this massacre. With pain in my heart I join my voice to that of the common people, who implore an end to the war.
‘Let there be a real and decisive focus on negotiation, and let the humanitarian corridors be effective and safe,’ he told crowds gathered in Vatican Square.
In the last week, Russian forces have bombed a maternity hospital in Mauripol and a hospital for the disabled.
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