- By Antoinette Radford
- BBC News
A 32-year-old French journalist has been killed while reporting from a war zone in eastern Ukraine.
Arman Soldin, who works for the AFP news agency, died on Tuesday after being hit by rocket fire near Chasev Yar, west of Bakhmut.
A team of journalists was attacked at around 16:30 (13:30 GMT) while with a group of Ukrainian soldiers.
French President Emmanuel Macron praised Soldin’s work on the front lines of the war.
“We share the pain of his loved ones and colleagues,” he wrote in a tweet.
AFP chief Fabrice Fries said the news agency was “devastated” by Soldin’s death, which he said was “a dire reminder of the stakes and dangers journalists face every day covering the conflict in Ukraine”.
The agency’s director in Europe, Christine Buhagar, recalled that Soldin was “enthusiastic, energetic and courageous”, and said he was “completely dedicated to his craft”.
Deputies from across the political spectrum stood in the French National Assembly and paid tribute to Soldin.
He was part of the first Armed Forces of the Philippines team that went to Ukraine after the Russian invasion in February last year and has lived there since September.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense offered its “heartfelt condolences” to Soldin’s family and colleagues, saying: “He devoted his life to informing the world of the truth. His legacy and his cause will live on.”
Moscow said it was saddened to hear of Soldin’s death. “We need to understand the circumstances of this journalist’s death,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
The White House also paid tribute, saying the world “owes it” to the journalists who lost their lives “while highlighting the horrors of the Russian invasion”.
Soldin, who was born in Bosnia, is the 15th journalist to be killed while covering the war in Ukraine since February 2022, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
At least two other French journalists, Pierre Zakrevsky and Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, were killed while covering the conflict.
Bakhmut has been the epicenter of fighting in eastern Ukraine for several months.
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