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AFP pays tribute to journalist Arman Soldin, killed near Bakhmout

A tribute was paid to Agence France-presse (AFP) to journalist Arman Soldin, killed on May 9 in Ukraine at the age of 32. “On the pitch, Arman was always serious, focused and always aware of the risks like all of us. Yes, Arman was filming up close. Because we don’t film war from afar”, said his AFP colleague Emmanuel Peuchot, who was a few meters from him when he died and gave the detailed account of his last moments. Since the announcement of his death, “The emotion has not subsided. I even have the impression that over time it amplifies as we all become imbued with the extremely endearing, solar personality of Arman”said Fabrice Fries, CEO of AFP.

Among the personalities present during this tribute: the Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak, the Ambassador of Ukraine Vadim Omelchenko, media leaders, such as Edwy Plenel (Mediapart) and Marie-Christine Saragosse (France Médias Monde), as well as the parents of Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, a BFM-TV journalist also killed at age 32 in Ukraine a year ago.

Arman Soldin, AFP’s video coordinator in Ukraine, was killed in a Russian rocket attack in the east of the country, near the besieged town of Bakhmout, the epicenter of fighting for months and targeted daily by forces Russians. He is at least the eleventh reporter, fixer or driver of journalists to have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

The journalist was buried Tuesday in Rennes. “I wish I was less proud of you and you more alive. I would have liked to continue to love you, by my side”, said his mother, Oksana, during his funeral. Words reported Thursday, which upset the audience.

Before this tribute, AFP news director Phil Chetwynd gave details of the circumstances of the journalist’s death in an email to employees. “Arman was killed by Grad rocket fire near the village of Chassiv Yar in eastern Ukraine, as our team of four journalists was walking away from the front lines, escorted by two soldiers Ukrainians »he recalled. “The rocket landed very close to Arman and he died almost instantly”while the soldier in front of him “managed to dive into a nearby trench” and his colleagues, a few meters away, were able to throw themselves to the ground. “Arman had the misfortune to find himself much closer to the impact of the rocket than the rest of the group”added the number one information to AFP.

After his death, the French anti-terrorist prosecution opened a war crime investigation, entrusted to the Central Office for the fight against crimes against humanity and hate crimes and intended to establish the circumstances of this tragedy. AFP plans to “gradually resume reporting on the front line in the days to come” in Ukraine, also announced the director of information.

Read also: War in Ukraine: Arman Soldin, AFP journalist, killed near Bakhmout

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