American filmmaker killed in Ukraine, Kyiv police say

Russia At War

(NEXSTAR) — An American photographer and videographer was shot and killed in Ukraine, Kyiv police announced early Sunday.

In a Facebook post, Kyiv regional police chief Andriy Nebytov wrote, “A 51-year-old world-renowned media correspondent was shot in Irpen today.” The post included a photo of the journalist’s New York Times press ID and a passport. Both identify the man as Brent Renaud.

In a second post, Nebytov said two other correspondents were injured and taken to the capital hospital.

“[The New York Times] is deeply saddened to learn of the death of an American journalist in Ukraine, Brent Renaud,” Cliff Levy, the deputy editor in chief of The Times, posted Sunday. “Brent was a talented photographer and filmmaker, but he was not on assignment for [The Times] in Ukraine.”

Brent Renaud attends the International Documentary Association’s 2014 IDA Documentary Awards at Paramount Studios on Friday, December 5, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision for IDA/AP Images)

Levy went on to say that Renaud had contributed to The Times in the past, most recently in 2015. Renaud’s Times press badge had been issued for an assignment “many years ago,” according to a statement from the outlet.

“Of course, the profession of a journalist is a risk, but US citizen Brent Renaud paid his life for trying to highlight the aggressor’s ingenuity, cruelty, and ruthlessness,” Nebytov wrote.

Jane Ferguson, a correspondent for PBS News Hours, said on Twitter that she had seen Renaud’s body under a blanket, adding, “Ukrainian medics could do nothing to help him by that stage.”

Kyiv’s Okhmatdyt Hospital posted a video on Instagram Sunday of a wounded U.S. photojournalist, Juan Arredondo, who described what happened to Renaud. He said they had been going to film refugees leaving the country when someone in a car offered to give them a ride.

“We crossed the first bridge in Irpin,” said Arredondo “We were going to film other refugees leaving, and we got into a car, somebody offered to take us to the other bridge, we crossed the checkpoint, and they started shooting at us. So the driver turned around, and they kept shooting, there was two of us, my friend is Brent Renaud, and he’s been shot and left behind.”

Arredondo explained that shots were fired at them near a Russian checkpoint, causing the driver to turn around. He remembers Renaud being shot in the neck. According to the hospital, Arredondo has a shrapnel wound to his thigh and “does not yet know the fate of his colleague.”

As early as Saturday, Arredondo was sharing photos on Instagram of Ukrainian volunteers making camouflage nets in Zhytomyr.

A friend and colleague of Renaud, Christof Putzel had nothing but praise and admiration to share on NewsNation Prime, Sunday Night.

“Brent was the best our profession has to offer,” said Putzel, “It is that simple.”

Renaud and his brother, Craig, are award-winning “documentary filmmakers, television producers, and journalists living and working in New York City and Little Rock, Arkansas” according to their website. They say their projects have also covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, violence in Mexico, and the earthquake in Haiti.

The brothers also founded the Little Rock Film Festival and the Arkansas Motion Picture Institute, according to an IMDb biography for Brent Renaud.

According to The Hill, when asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” about reports that an American journalist was killed in Ukraine, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said he had been informed of the reports when coming on air and would have to consult his colleagues, the U.S.’s allies and partners and Ukrainians on the ground “to learn more about what happened.”

Sullivan did say that if an American journalist was killed, it would be “a shocking and horrifying event.”

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