AFP journalist killed by rocket fire in eastern Ukraine

PARIS: French international news agency Agence France-Presse says its Ukraine video coordinator was killed Tuesday during a rocket attack near the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

Arman Soldin, 32, was with a team of AFP journalists traveling with Ukrainian soldiers when the group came under fire with Grad rockets, the agency said. The rest of the AFP team was uninjured.

The late afternoon attack took place in the vicinity of Chasiv Yar, a town near Bakhmut, the agency said. Russian forces have been trying to capture the city for nine months, making Bakhmut the focus of the war’s longest battle.

“His death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers faced by journalists every day covering the conflict in Ukraine,” said AFP chairman Fabrice Fries.

Soldin was born in Sarajevo, now the capital of Bosnia, and a French citizen, according to AFP. He arrived in Ukraine to cover the war the day after the Russian attack in February of last year and had traveled regularly to the front lines in recent months.

AFP said it was “devastated” at Soldin’s death and “all of our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones.”

In May 2022, French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, who was working in Ukraine for BFM-TV, was killed near Severodonetsk in the east.

At least 10 media workers have been killed while covering the war in Ukraine, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

RSF Director Christophe Deloire praised the daily courage of those covering the war and called Soldin’s death “a tragedy of all those who defend the independence and reliability of the information.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a speech Tuesday night in Washington, expressed condolences to Soldin’s family and loved ones.

“Countless journalists are working to expose and report on the truth in extremely dangerous settings,” Blinken said. “Today, we were devastated to learn of the death of AFP video journalist Arman Soldin in eastern Ukraine.”

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