Enrichment Arts & Culture

US journalist killed in Ukraine marks first in nearly four years

Brent Renaud attends the 74th Annual Peabody Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on May 31, 2015, in New York.  (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/Associated Press, File)

Story at a glance

  • U.S. journalist Brent Renaud, 51, was shot and killed by the Russian military while covering the invasion in Ukraine on Sunday.
  • Renaud’s killing not only marks the first of a U.S. journalist covering the conflict in Ukraine, but the first confirmed killing of a U.S. journalist on the job since 2018.
  • There were 55 killings of journalists and media workers worldwide in 2021.

The death of U.S. documentarian Brent Renaud on Sunday marks the first killing of a U.S. journalist while on the job since 2018.   

Renaud, 51, was shot and killed by the Russian military while in a car crossing a Ukrainian checkpoint in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv. Renaud was in the country covering the invasion, as well as the plight of Ukrainians attempting to flee. 

RSF is deeply troubled by reports of the death of filmmaker Brent Renaud and the wounding of a fellow journalist while reporting in a suburb of #Kyiv,” Reporters Without Borders tweeted. “We call for light [to] be shed on the circumstances of the attack. Journalists must not be targets of war!” 

Renaud is the first U.S. journalist killed covering the war in Ukraine. Pierre Zakrzewski, a Fox News cameraman, and Oleksandra Kuvshynova, a Ukrainian journalist, were killed after an attack on Monday. Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall was also injured during the attack. Yevhenii Sakun, correspondent and cameraman for Ukrainian television, was killed on March 1 from shelling by the Russian army. 


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According to data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the last killing of a working U.S. journalist was in 2018 when five journalists — Gerald Fischman, 61, Rob Hiaasen, 59, John McNamara, 56, Rebecca Smith, 34, and Wendi Winters, 65 — were murdered in a mass shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md.   

There were 55 killings of journalists and media workers worldwide in 2021, according to the UN, and 9 out of 10 journalist killings since 2006 have gone unresolved.   

“Reporting on this war is a vital public service, and it has already claimed the lives of at least two other journalists in just a few weeks,” Gulnoza Said, Europe and Central Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a press release. “Ukrainian and Russian authorities must do their utmost to ensure safety of all journalists, and to thoroughly investigate attacks on the press.” 


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