Arman Soldin, a 32-year-old video coordinator in Ukraine for French newswire Agence France-Presse, died Tuesday afternoon in a Grad rocket attack, according to AFP journalists who accompanied him.
The shelling took place in the vicinity of Chasiv Yar, near Bakhmut, which is targeted daily by Russian forces, and has seen some of the fiercest fighting since the beginning of the war.
French President Emmanuel Macron said: “With courage, from the first hours of the conflict he was at the front to establish the facts. To inform us. We share the pain of his loved ones and all his colleagues.”
“The whole agency is devastated by the loss of Arman,” AFP Chairman Fabrice Fries said.
“Arman’s brilliant work encapsulated everything that has made us so proud of AFP’s journalism in Ukraine,” AFP’s Global News Director Phil Chetwynd said.
Soldin is the 15th journalist who has been killed covering the war in Ukraine, according to press freedom NGO Committee to Protect Journalists.
An experienced video reporter, he was part of AFP’s team covering the first days of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and traveled regularly to the front lines.
He was with a group of Ukrainian soldiers and four other journalists from the agency when they were targeted by rocket fire. His four colleagues were unharmed.
Soldin apparently had a soft spot for animals — last week an animal rescue group tweeted a video of him saving a hedgehog from a trench in eastern Ukraine. Another tribute came from his colleague, reporter Daphné Rousseau.
Soldin regularly posted videos of his coverage in Ukraine on his personal Twitter account. On May 1, he described “being caught under a rain of Grad” missiles as “pure terror.”
Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said she “bowed to his courage in telling the reality of the war.” His “tragic death,” she added, is “a reminder of the price of the freedom to inform.”