US video journalist gunned down by Russian military while riding in a vehicle

As Russia nears the third week of its invasion of Ukraine, the war took a new turn over the weekend after an American film journalist was shot and killed by Russian guards at a checkpoint.

According to the Associated Press, 50-year-old Brent Renaud, an acclaimed filmmaker and a highly decorated warzone journalist, was murdered by the Russian military after they opened fire on the vehicle in which he was traveling in Ukraine. 

Renaud, who has traveled to some of the most dangerous conflict zones across the world over the course of his impressive career, was reportedly gathering material for an upcoming video report on the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

The murder took place in the town of Irpin, which is close to Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv.

“The absolute best”

Renaud’s work history precedes him, as he was celebrated by those who had a chance to work with him as one of the best in the business, especially with regard to documenting reports and stories in some of the deadliest wars and conflicts in past decades.

“This guy was the absolute best,” Christof Putzel, a filmmaker and close friend, told The Associated Press. “He was just the absolute best war journalist that I know. This is a guy who literally went to every conflict zone.”

While details are still murky with regard to Renaud’s final moments, he was apparently traveling with American journalist Juan Arredondo in a vehicle toward a Russian-held checkpoint in Irpin.

Arredondo survived the shooting but told another journalist that Renaud had been fatally shot in the neck. Arredondo was shot in the lower back and was eventually transported to a functioning hospital in Kyiv.

“We crossed the first bridge in Irpin, we were going to film other refugees leaving, and we got into a car, somebody offered to take us to the other bridge, we crossed the checkpoint, and they started shooting at us,” Arredondo recounted.

State Department reacts

Though the U.S. State Department was pressed on what would happen as a result of the killing of an American in Ukraine, it failed to offer any substantive details but did release a statement via Twitter.

“We are horrified that journalists and filmmakers—noncombatants—have been killed and injured in Ukraine by Kremlin forces,” it wrote. “This is yet another gruesome example of the Kremlin’s indiscriminate actions.”

The State Department added that consular assistance was being offered to Renaud’s family at this time.

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