The Journalists Killed During Russia’s War on Ukraine

From a Washington Post story by Jennifer Hassan, Ellen Francis, and Meryl Kornfield headlined “These are the journalists killed during Russia’s war on Ukraine”:

Russia’s four-month-long war on Ukraine has killed several journalists — Ukrainian and foreign correspondents — who were working to document the conflict. Their deaths highlight the risks journalists face as they seek to inform people around the world from Ukraine.

Here are their stories.

Yevhenii Sakun

A camera operator for Ukraine’s LIVE station, 49-year-old Yevhenii Sakun, was reportedly the first journalist killed in the conflict on March 1, when shelling struck a TV tower in the capital, Kyiv.

The International and European federations of journalists condemned the Russian attack, which also killed four other people, calling it a war crime. The Committee to Protect Journalists described it as “reckless” and called on Russia to “stop targeting media facilities and equipment.”

Brent Renaud

An American filmmaker working for Time magazine, 50-year-old Brent Renaud was killed March 13, when Russian troops opened fire on a vehicle in which he was traveling outside Kyiv. Edward Felsenthal, Time’s editor in chief and CEO, said the journalist was working on a Time Studios project focused on the global refugee crisis.

“Our hearts are with all of Brent’s loved ones. It is essential that journalists are able to safely cover this ongoing invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine,” Felsenthal said at the time. Renaud worked with his brother, Craig Renaud, on award-winning video projects for HBO, Vice and other news organizations, according to their website. Renaud previously worked on assignments for the New York Times.

Oleksandra Kuvshynova

A producer for Fox News, 24-year-old Ukrainian Oleksandra Kuvshynova, also known as “Sasha,” was killed on March 14, when gunfire hit a vehicle in which she was traveling with colleagues. She was working as a consultant for Fox News, helping the team navigate the area, gather news and speak with sources, the network said. Colleagues remembered her as “beautiful” and “brave.”

“The truth is the target,” Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said of the attack.

Pierre Zakrzewski

Pierre Zakrzewski was a cameraman for Fox News who was traveling alongside Kuvshynova in the town of Horenka when their vehicle came under fire. The attack killed the 55-year-old, an Irish citizen with a French mother, and seriously injured Fox News journalist Benjamin Hall, who survived.

Zakrzewski was an experienced journalist who had covered conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Fox News said in its tribute to “an absolute legend.” He had been working in Ukraine since February but was based in London, The Washington Post reported.

Irish police said they were working with French anti-terrorism prosecutors to investigate Zakrzewski’s death , according to the Irish Times. His family thanked “all those involved in getting Pierre home to us so quickly and in such difficult circumstances.”

Oksana Baulina

Russian correspondent Oksana Baulina was killed while filming the destruction from Russian shelling of a district in Kyiv on March 23, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs said.

Anton Herashchenko said Ukrainian authorities did not believe she was targeted purposefully but condemned Russian attacks on civilian areas. He described Baulina as an “anti-Putin journalist” and called her death a “tragedy.” “She just wanted as a journalist to document [the destruction] for her audience, for her readers,” he said.

Baulina had been covering the war for the Insider, an investigative Russian news site, which reported her death. She previously worked at the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which was founded by jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Paying tribute to Baulina, one journalist called her a talented reporter with a “phenomenal sense of moral clarity.”

Maksym Levin

Ukrainian photojournalist Maksym Levin, whom colleagues called Max, was found dead on the outskirts of Kyiv after disappearing in March, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said in April.

Reporters Without Borders said on June 22 it had conducted an investigation that indicated Russian forces appeared to have “executed” Levin, along with a soldier who accompanied him when they were searching for the photographer’s drone in a forest near Kyiv in March. The press group, which collected photos and testimonies, said it found 14 bullet marks in Levin’s charred car and the identity papers of the soldier, whose body was burned, while adding that some questions remained unanswered.

The photojournalist — who had worked for organizations including Reuters, the BBC and Ukrainian outlet LB.ua — had been reporting near the front lines around the capital, from where Russian forces later retreated.

LB.ua said the 40-year-old Levin is survived by four young sons, as well as his wife and parents, and had dreamed of being a photographer since age 15. It added that Levin, who had covered the conflict with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014, once said: “Every Ukrainian photographer dreams of taking a photo that will stop the war.”

Vira Hyrych

The U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said Vira Hyrych, a journalist at the outlet’s Ukrainian-language service, was killed in a missile attack on Kyiv on April 28. Her body was discovered under the rubble of a residential building the next day, it said.

RFE said the Ukrainian journalist, who was in her 50s, had worked for the news service, known as Radio Svoboda, since February 2018. The editorial staff at Radio Svoboda pledged in a statement to “remember her as a bright and kind person, a true professional.” A colleague described Hyrych as “patient, diligent, kind, and dedicated.”

The missiles hit Kyiv during a visit by U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, in which he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and called the war “evil.” Russia said it had destroyed an arms factory, but Kyiv’s mayor said a residential building was hit.

Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff

Shrapnel from an explosion hit Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, 32, in the neck on May 30, fatally wounding him, the governor of the Luhansk region said on Telegram. Serhiy Haidai shared graphic images, showing the bloodied truck, which was marked “HUMANITARIAN AID,” inches from where a projectile appeared to have punctured the thick glass of the armored vehicle the journalist was riding in.

French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed the death of Leclerc-Imhoff, who was carrying press credentials. In a tweet thread, Macron shared his condolences for the journalist’s family and support for war correspondents.

BFMTV, the news channel where Leclerc-Imhoff had worked for six years, said in a statement that another colleague traveling with him, Maxime Brandstaetter, was “slightly injured” and that this was Leclerc-Imhoff’s second mission to Ukraine during the conflict. A fixer who was traveling with them was not wounded.

“Frédéric was joyous, enthusiastic, caring, courageous, and a wonderful journalist,” the BFMTV association for its journalists said in a statement. “He died doing his work as a reporter, on the ground, to show the reality of this conflict.”

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