A French journalist was reportedly killed on Monday during a Russian bombardment that struck a vehicle transporting civilians from eastern Ukraine, French and Ukrainian officials said.
Reacting tonthe unfortunate development, French President Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter and wrote; “Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff was in Ukraine to show the reality of war.”
“He was mortally wounded aboard a humanitarian bus carrying refugees fleeing Russian bombs.”
Leclerc-Imhoff was 32 years old and on his second Ukraine reporting trip since the conflict began on February 24th. This was revealed in a statement by BFM television news channel, the media organization he was working for.
In separate announcements, the French and Ukrainian foreign ministries stated that the French journalist was in Severodonetsk, a city in Ukraine’s east that has been battered by advancing Russian soldiers in recent weeks.
“Leclerc-Imhoff had been killed by a Russian bombardment of a humanitarian mission while he was carrying out his duty to inform,” Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who visited Kyiv on Monday, said on Twitter.
“I spoke with the Lugansk administration and requested an investigation from President [Volodymyr] Zelensky, and they assured me of their assistance and support,” she wrote.
Lugansk governor Sergiy Gaidai stated on Telegram that, “our armoured evacuation truck was heading to pick up ten individuals from the region and came under enemy fire.”
According to BFM, the media organization he was working for, the journalist was hit by shrapnel from the bombing that also got his colleague Maxime Brandstaetter wounded. However, Oksana Leuta, who happens to be their local fixer, was unharmed during the occurence.
“This awful tragedy reminds us of the perils faced by all journalists who have risked their lives for more than three months to report on this crisis,” BFM stated in a statement.
“Frederic was not a hothead. He “judged it was secure enough to move along” after weighing every moment of his mission “Marc-Olivier Fogiel, the broadcaster’s chief, said on air.
He went on to say that when Leclerc-mother Imhoff’s learned of his death, the first question she asked was whether his coworkers were uninjured.
“With a sense of pride, she understood her son’s job,” Fogiel added.
Macron wrote: “I share the grief of his family, relatives and colleagues,” adding that “to those who ensure the difficult mission of reporting in combat zones, I want to reiterate France’s unconditional support”.
At least eight journalists have been killed while reporting on the Ukraine crisis, according to Reporters Without Borders, an international media advocacy group.
Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), condemned the killing of Leclerc-Imhoff on Monday and called for journalists working in conflict zones to be protected in accordance with previous UN Security Council resolutions.
“Journalists in Ukraine who labor ceaselessly to enlighten us about the realities of conflict must be safeguarded from violence,” she said.
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