A US Reporter Was Shot Dead While Covering The War In Ukraine

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Brent Renaud's death was "shocking and horrifying" and pledged that the US would investigate and respond appropriately.

Three armed men in camo stand on a bridge with cars in the background and a stretcher next to them

Brent Renaud, an award-winning American video journalist who had been covering Russia's war against Ukraine, was shot dead Sunday near Kyiv, according to local police and witnesses.

Renaud, 50, and another reporter came under gunfire in Irpin, a suburb north of the capital, according to Kyiv Regional Police Chief Andriy Nebytov. The police chief shared photos on Facebook of Renaud's passport and a New York Times press badge with his photo, as well as a cropped image purportedly of his bloodied corpse.

"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.

Renaud had been in Ukraine working with Time Studios on a project about the global refugee crisis, Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal and Time President Ian Orefice said in a joint statement.

"Our hearts are with all of Brent’s loved ones," they said. "It is essential that journalists are able to safely cover this ongoing invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine."

Renaud had previously been a contributor to the New York Times, and a spokesperson said he had been wearing a badge from the newspaper that had been issued for an assignment several years ago.

"Brent's death is a terrible loss," Times Deputy Managing Editor Cliff Levy wrote on Twitter. "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."

Two men in suits on the red carpet

Juan Arredondo, the other American photojournalist injured in the attack, said in a video interview from his hospital bed with Italian reporter Annalisa Camilli that they had been filming refugees when the car they were traveling in was shot at while crossing a checkpoint.

"My friend is Brent Renaud, and he's been shot and left behind," Arredondo said. "I saw he's been shot in the neck."

🔴🔴 Two American journalist shot by Russian at Irpin bridge. One is under surgery at the main hospital in Kyiv and the other was shot at the neck.

Twitter: @annalisacamilli

Jane Ferguson, a reporter for PBS NewsHour working in Ukraine, said she observed Renaud's body under a blanket by the side of the road. It was too late, she said, for medics to help him in any way.

Just left roadside spot near Irpin where body of American journalist Brent Renaud lay under a blanket. Ukranian medics could do nothing to help him by that stage. Outraged Ukranian police officer: “Tell America, tell the world, what they did to a journalist.”

Twitter: @JaneFerguson5

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CBS News' Face the Nation that Renaud's death was "shocking and horrifying."

"We'll be consulting with the Ukrainians to determine how this happened and then to measure and execute appropriate consequences as a result of it," Sullivan said.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered his condolences to Renaud's family, saying the people of his country were mourning with them.

I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Brent Renaud who lost his life while documenting the ruthlessness & evil inflicted upon 🇺🇦 people by Russia. May Brent’s life & sacrifice inspire the world to stand up in fight for the forces of light against forces of darkness.

Twitter: @ZelenskyyUa

Renaud's death was also highlighted by French President Emmanuel Macron, who paid tribute on Twitter:

Today, a US journalist was killed in Ukraine. Before him, others have been targeted, murdered, injured or kidnapped. Our thoughts are with all those journalists driven by courage and an ideal: the freedom to inform. This freedom is fundamental to our democracies.

Twitter: @EmmanuelMacron

Under the Geneva Conventions, journalists working in conflict zones are regarded as civilians, meaning targeted attacks against them constitute war crimes. Earlier this month, a team of journalists with Britain's Sky News came under a suspected Russian ambush despite repeatedly identifying themselves. Correspondent Stuart Ramsay was shot and wounded, and the crew was subsequently evacuated to the UK.

Carlos Martinez de la Serna, program director with the Committee to Protect Journalists, on Sunday condemned Renaud's killing and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

"We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of U.S. journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine. This kind of attack is totally unacceptable, and is a violation of international law,” Martinez de la Serna said in a statement. “Russian forces in Ukraine must stop all violence against journalists and other civilians at once, and whoever killed Renaud should be held to account.”

In 2015, Renaud and his brother, Craig, won a Peabody Award for their Vice News documentary Last Chance High, which was praised for its "uncompromising look at school violence and its compassionate depiction" of troubled public school students with severe emotional disorders.

Renaud, who was from Little Rock, Arkansas, was also made a Nieman Fellow in 2019 by Harvard University. Ann Marie Lipinski, curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, said the Nieman community was heartsick to learn of his death. "Our Nieman Fellow Brent Renaud was gifted and kind, and his work was infused with humanity," she wrote on Twitter.

The Renaud brothers' work often took them into places of danger, covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as cartel violence in Mexico and extremism in North Africa.

Sunday was yet another bloody day in Russia's deadly war as forces advanced on the besieged southern city of Mariupol, hitting it with a series of bombing attacks. Earlier this week, a maternity ward in the city was destroyed by a Russian strike.

In one of the deadliest single attacks in the war so far, an airstrike against a military training base in Yavoriv in western Ukraine killed 35 people and wounded dozens more, according to officials. The base was roughly 10 miles from the border with Poland, which is a NATO member.

Sullivan warned that any attack — even an accidental one — that strikes the territory of a NATO member would be met with force from member nations.

"The president has been clear repeatedly that the United States will work with our allies to defend every inch of NATO territory, and that means every inch," he told CBS. "And if there is a military attack on NATO territory, it would cause the invocation of Article 5, and we would bring the full force of the NATO alliance to bear in responding to it."

Chris Miller contributed reporting to this story from Ukraine.

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