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Russian shelling kills French journalist

May 30, 2022 10:51 pmby Alexander Query
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Frederic-Leclerc-Imhoff
French journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff was killed near Sievierodonetsk on May 30, 2022. (BFM TV)

Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, a 32-year-old French journalist, was killed by shrapnel on May 30 while covering the evacuation of civilians on the road to Lysychansk, near Sievierodonetsk, in eastern Luhansk Oblast.

According to Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk Oblast, Russian forces shelled an armored evacuation vehicle that carried civilians, killing Leclerc-Imhoff. The evacuation was suspended, the governor added.

Leclerc-Imhoff was with a colleague, Maxime Brandstaetter, 27, who received a shrapnel wound to the left leg, and their Ukrainian fixer Oksana Leuta, who received a concussion, according to the Prosecutor’s Office. 

“Shrapnel from the grenades pierced the armor of the car … a fatal wound in the neck was received by an accredited French journalist who was making a report on the evacuation. A police officer (at the scene) was saved by his helmet,” Haidai said.

Leclerc-Imhoff was inside the vehicle, while the rest of the team was outside it.

A view of the windshield of the bus hit by a Russian shelling, in which Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff received a fatal shrapnel wound on May 30. (Serhiy Haidai, Telegram)

The body of Leclerc-Imhoff was evacuated alongside the rest of the team from Lysychansk to Bakhmut and then to Dnipro, where another team of journalists from BFM TV, their employer, was due to take care of the body and repatriate it to France.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced Leclerc-Imhoff’s death on Twitter on May 30, reiterating France’s support "to those who ensure the difficult mission of reporting in combat zones.”

At least eight journalists have been killed while reporting on Russia’s war in Ukraine since Feb. 24, according to Reporters Without Borders. 

An intense battle is occuring for Sievierodonetsk – a key city – with Russian forces entering the outskirts and pushing towards nearby Lysychansk.

Sievierodonetsk serves as Luhansk Oblast’s administrative center, which Russia has been trying to conquer since it retreated from the outskirts of Kyiv at the end of March. 

Alexander Query
Author: Alexander Query

Alexander Query is a business reporter at the Kyiv Independent. He is the former business editor at the Kyiv Post. He worked as a TV correspondent and an anchorman at UATV in Ukraine, and received a BA in modern literature from La Sorbonne, in Paris.

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