Journalist Killed While Covering Ukraine Evacuation

France demands answers in death of Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 30, 2022 10:54 AM CDT
Journalist Killed While Covering Ukraine Evacuation
This undated photo provided by BFM TV show French reporter Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff .   (BFM TV via AP)

(Newser) – The French news broadcaster BFM TV says a 32-year-old French journalist was killed Monday in eastern Ukraine, fatally hit by shell shrapnel while covering a Ukrainian evacuation operation. BFM TV says its journalist, Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, was killed as he was "covering a humanitarian operation in an armored vehicle" near Sievierodonetsk, a key city in the Donbas region that is being hotly contested by Russian and Ukrainian forces, the AP reports. He had worked for six years for the French television channel.

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Leclerc-Imhoff on Twitter. He "was in Ukraine to show the reality of the war. Aboard a humanitarian bus, alongside civilians forced to flee to escape Russian bombs, he was fatally shot," Macron said. Macron expressed condolences to his family, relatives, and colleagues and spoke of "France’s unconditional support" to "those who carry out the difficult mission of informing in theaters of operations." French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna called the journalist's death "deeply shocking" and said France "demands that a transparent inquiry be launched as soon as possible to shed full light on the circumstances of this tragedy."

Earlier Monday, the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, announced Leclerc-Imhoff’s death in a Telegram post, saying that Russian forces fired on an armored vehicle that was traveling to pick up people for evacuation. "Shrapnel from the shells pierced the vehicle’s armor, fatally wounding an accredited French journalist in the neck who was reporting on the evacuation. The patrol officer was saved by his helmet," he wrote. As a result of the attack, the evacuation was called off, Haidai said.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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