An French journalist died on Monday in an Russian attack that hit an unoccupied vehicle that was evacuating civilians from the eastern part of Ukraine, French and Ukrainian officials claimed.
“Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff was in Ukraine to show the reality of war,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter.
“Aboard a humanitarian bus, alongside civilians forced to flee to escape Russian bombs, he was fatally shot.”
Journaliste, Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff etait en Ukraine pour montrer la realite de la guerre. A bord d’un bus humanitaire, aux cotes de civils contraints de fuir pour echapper aux bombes russes, il a ete mortellement touche. — Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 30 2022
The 32-year-old reporter worked with BFM TV and was on his second Ukraine report since the war started on February 24th, according the French news outlet.
He was in Severodonetsk which is a city in Ukraine’s east region that has been hit by advance Russian soldiers in the past few days, French as well as the Ukrainian foreign ministers said in separate announcements.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who visited Kyiv on Monday, announced on Twitter that Leclerc Imhoff was murdered “by a Russian bombardment of a humanitarian mission while he was carrying out his duty to inform”.
“I have spoken with the government of Lugansk and asked President [Volodymyr] Zelensky for an inquiry, and they assured me of their help and support,” she wrote.
The French foreign ministry has asked for the government to conduct a “transparent inquiry” into the causes of the death of his son.
Affected by shrapnel
BFM stated that their journalist was struck with shrapnel after the bombing and his co-worker Maxime Brandstaetter was injured. The fixing staffer local to the scene Oksana Leuta was not hurt.
“This tragic event reminds us of the dangers faced by all journalists who have been risking their lives to describe this conflict for more than three months now,” BFM announced in an announcement.
The reporter was reporting from the French Embassy in Kyiv The FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg said that Kyiv’s Severodonetsk and Lysychansk region where Leclerc-Imhoff was reporting is under constant Russian attacks over the last few days.
“Evacuation missions from those cities are dangerous, they don’t happen every day because sometimes the Ukrainian military says it’s too dangerous to go there. The Russians are firing on the roads in that part of the Luhansk region and unfortunately it appears that the humanitarian vehicle that the journalist was travelling on was hit and he was at the front of the vehicle, according to Ukrainian authorities,” stated Cragg.
The head of Ukraine’s east Luhansk area, Serhiy Haidai, announced Leclerc Imhoff’s death via an Telegram post, in which he said that Russian forces shot at an armored car that was moving to collect people to evacuate.
“Shrapnel generated by the shells penetrated the vehicle’s armor, killing wounded an accredited French journalist’s neck, who was covering the evacuation. The officer who was patrolling was protected from injury by his headgear,” He wrote.
Due to the attack the evacuation was called to an end, Haidai said.
Haidai posted a photo of the Leclerc-Imhoff’s Ukrainian press credentials, as well as pictures of the what he described as was the aftermath of the attack.