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Remembering AFP journalist killed in Ukraine


PARIS (AP) – Colleagues of Arman Soldin, the journalist Agence France-Presse killed in Ukraine, solemnly gathered at the press agency’s Paris headquarters Wednesday, a day after his death, to in memory of the 32-year-old man.

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A widely aired photo of Soldin, clad in protective gear and beaming with a cat on his shoulder, has touched the hearts of the French people.


Juliette Hollier-Larousse, the agency’s deputy director of news, said: “Arman is so enthusiastic, so full of energy, so alive that it just doesn’t seem real to be here and talk about it this morning.

Soldin, who was working as a video coordinator for Ukraine, was killed in a Grad missile attack near the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. He was accompanied by a group of AFP reporters who accompanied Ukrainian soldiers when the group was attacked. The rest of the team escaped unscathed.

The Paris prosecutor’s office, which handles counter-terrorism cases, said on Wednesday evening that it was conducting an investigation into war crimes related to the journalist’s death.


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At the editorial meeting, AFP news agency director Phil Chetwynd said the shock reverberated throughout the company, saying that “Arman was a man loved by his colleagues.”

“Losing him under these circumstances was extremely painful for all of us,” Chetwynd said, although “we all know the risks.”

Mr Chetwynd said the logistical priority right now was to get Soldin’s body back to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, so “we can get the body out of the country safely and bring it home to his family”. .

He added: “It was just something that we never wanted to communicate with the family. It comes down to some of our worst fears and concerns. So really, all of our thoughts are with his family today.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the eastern region of Donetsk, said in a Telegram update that Soldin was killed near Chasiv Yar, a western suburb of the besieged city of Bakhmut.

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Russian forces managed to capture the city for nine months, making Bakhmut the focus of the longest battle of the war.

Kyrylenko said: “I sympathize with the journalist’s family and friends and thank everyone who risked their lives to continue telling the truth about our fight.

Many places have praised the Sarajevo-born journalist, who has lived for many years in France. Denis Becirovic, a member of the Bosnian presidential office, calls him “a journalist devoted to his profession” who “since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has courageously reported to the public about events.” from this country”.

Becirovic also called Arman’s death “a painful reminder of the dangers posed to journalists and media workers in regions caught up in war.”

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In Paris, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna paid a brief but emotional tribute to Soldin while speaking to reporters on Wednesday.

“I miss him…” she said, pausing before continuing. “I don’t want to say things that are too personal, but it is remarkable that he mentioned my last visit to Kyiv. I want to pay tribute not only to his courage, but also to the work you do, which is indispensable for us to know the reality of the truth, for us to know the truth of what is going on. happened in Ukraine and elsewhere.”

Max Blain, spokesman for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, paid tribute to Soldin’s work in Ukraine.

“The press continues to shine a light in the darkness of this war, and Arman’s work is vital to that. Any death in this needless invasion is tragic and our thoughts go out to all those who have lost loved ones in this conflict,” he said.

In May 2022, French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, who was working in Ukraine for BFM-TV, was killed near Sievierodonetsk in the east.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists say at least 10 media workers have been killed while covering the war in Ukraine.


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