Brent Renaud, a U.S. filmmaker and journalist, was killed in Kyiv, Ukraine on Sunday, while reporting on the Russian invasion of the country. He was 50.
The New York Times, for whom Renaud had worked previously, reported the news early Sunday, citing Ukrainian government sources.
“The Ukrainian authorities said he was killed in Irpin, a suburb [of Kyiv] that has been the site of intense shelling by Russian forces in recent days, but the details of his death were not immediately clear. Ukrainian officials said another journalist was wounded as well,” said the Times.
Later, the Society of Professional Journalists issued a statement that added further details of Renaud’s death and named the other journalist as Juan Arrendondo. “[Renaud] was killed while covering the exodus of refugees from war-torn Ukraine. According to a Ukrainian news agency, Renaud and his film crew were shot by Russian troops. At the time of his death, Renaud was working on a multi-part documentary about the refugees for MSNBC,” the SPJ said.
Renaud spent the past two decades producing films and television programs with his brother, Craig, and won a Peabody Award and two Columbia DuPont Awards. His works include “Dope Sick Love” and “Off to War” from 2005 and the 2014 documentary short “Last Chance High.”
Local Ukrainian sources showed photographs of a New York Times press card and Renaud’s passport that had reportedly been found with his body. But the Times said that Renaud was not on assignment for the publication at the time of his death.
“The Renaud Brothers are best known for telling humanistic stories from the world’s hot spots and their projects have covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti, political turmoil in Egypt and Libya, the fight for Mosul, extremism in Africa, cartel violence in Mexico and the youth refugee crisis in Central America,” reads a statement on the brothers’ website.
Renaud had also worked for a number of American news and media organizations in the past, including HBO, NBC and The New York Times.
The SPJ statement says: “We are saddened about the killing of U.S. journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine and condemn the actions that lead to his death. He was killed while covering the exodus of refugees from war-torn Ukraine. According to a Ukrainian news agency, Renaud and his film crew were shot by Russian troops.
“At the time of his death, Renaud was working on a multi-part documentary about the refugees for MSNBC. He was an award-winning documentary video journalist who has covered war, drug addiction, gang violence and refugees from Central America and Haiti.
“His death is a reminder to us of the danger that exists to tell these important stories,” said SPJ International Community co-chair Elle Toussi. “We are all diminished by his passing.”
“Renaud is the second journalist to be killed covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yevhenii Sakun, a photojournalist for EFE, the Spanish news service, was killed when the Russian army destroyed the Kyiv television tower on March 1. Renaud is the first American to be killed covering the war.
“Renaud and Sakun were courageous journalists who died bringing the world the truth about the Russian attack on Ukraine,” said SPJ National President Rebecca Aguilar. “We at SPJ send our condolences to their families and pray for Renaud’s colleague, Juan Arrendondo, who was shot while the two were preparing to film refugees from Kyiv.”