After being hit with shell shrapnel while covering an evacuation operation in Ukraine, a French journalist was killed.
Frederic Leclerc–Imhoff was working for the 24-hour news channel BFMTV when the strike took place. He was driving to Lysychansk from the eastern city Severodonetsk, Luhansk, Ukraine.
BFMTV reported that the 32-year old reporter was covering humanitarian operations in an armoured vehicle. He was also the “victims of shrapnel.”
Maxime Brandstaetter, his colleague, was slightly hurt in the incident. Oksana Leuta, their “fixer”, was uninjured.
This was the second visit by Mr Leclerc Imhoff to Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2003.
BFMTV stated that he was a graduate of Institute of Journalism Bordeaux Aquitaine, and had been working for the channel for six-years.
According to Serhiy Haidai (regional governor of Luhansk), there is an intense battle for Severodonetsk, a key city. Russian forces are pushing towards Lysychansk and entering the outskirts.
French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the reporter was there to report the “reality” of war.
Mr Macron tweeted, “To those who perform the difficult task of informing theatres of operation, I would like France to reiterate its unconditional support.”
Macron stated that he felt the pain of Mr Leclerc Imhoff’s family, friends, and colleagues. He also sent condolences to them.
Catherine Colonna, French foreign minister, said that the journalist’s murder was “deeply disturbing” and demanded that France conduct a transparent investigation as soon as possible.
Serhiy Haidai was the Luhansk regional governor. He said that the reporter sustained a “fatal injury to the neck”.
On Telegram, Mr Haidai wrote that shrapnel had penetrated an armoured vehicle. The evacuation efforts had to be stopped.
His helmet saved a police officer.
Mr Haidai wrote, “Today’s armoured evacuation vehicle was to pick up 10 persons from the area. However, it came under enemy fire.
“Shrapnel from the shells punctured the car’s armour. An accredited French journalist, who was documenting the evacuation, received a fatal injury to the neck.
“A helmet saved a patrol officer.
“We have officially stopped the evacuation.”
Russian forces are strengthening their positions in the northeastern and southeast outskirts Severodonetsk while also bringing in additional ammunition and equipment.
On Monday, Mr Haidai said that two civilians were killed and five more were injured in the latest Russian bombardment.
He said that Moscow’s forces use the “same tactics over-and-over again”.
He said, “They shell for many hours – for 3, 4, and 5 hours in a row, then attack.
“Those who attack die.” Next, they attack and shell again until they finally break through.
Severodonetsk is Luhansk’s administrative center. Vladimir Putin wants to conquer the eastern Donbas region, which includes Luhansk as well as Donetsk.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, stated that his country is trying to stop the Russian advance into the city. He described the capture of the city as a fundamental task for the occupiers.
He said that around 90% of the buildings were damaged. “More Than Two-thirds of the city’s housing stock have been destroyed.”