American Journalist ‘Paid His Life’ for Covering the War: Ukrainian Police

  • An American journalist was shot and reportedly killed while covering the war in Ukraine. 
  • The Kyiv police chief said video journalist Brent Renaud was shot in Irpen and his partner was injured.
  • While Renaud had a New York Times press pass, the newspaper said he wasn’t there on assignment. 

An American journalist was shot while covering the Ukraine-Russia conflict, according to the Kyiv regional police chief. 

“A 51-year-old world-renowned media correspondent was shot in Irpen today,” police chief Andriy Nebytov wrote on Facebook, referring to a city located to the west of Kyiv that has been hit hard in the war. “Another journalist is injured. Now they are trying to remove the victim from the war zone.”

The social media post identified the journalist who died as award-winning documentary filmmaker Brent Renaud. The post shared images of Renaud’s passport and a press pass for the New York Times. 

The deputy managing editor of The New York Times tweeted Sunday that Renaud was not on duty for the newspaper while he was in Ukraine. 

The Times “is deeply saddened to learn of the death of an American journalist in Ukraine, Brent Renaud,” Cliff Levy said. “Brent was a talented photographer and filmmaker, but he was not on assignment for @nytimes in Ukraine.”

“He was wearing a Times press badge that had been issued for an assignment many years ago,” a statement from The Times said.

Irpen, located to the west of Kyiv, has been hit hard during the Ukraine-Russian conflict.

“Irpen, and its surroundings villages, are seeing an absolute humanitarian disaster. Russian soldiers occupied Vorzel, Hostomel, Zabucha and the Mylhailivka-Rubezhivka and won’t let residents leave their own homes,” the city’s former mayor said, according to a group of Ukrainian journalists. The former mayor described Russian forces shooting at homes and shelling hospitals.

Renaud has won numerous accolades for his work, including a Peabody and DuPont award, according to his IMDB biography. He’s been producing films for two decades. He often produced films with his brother Craig, the bio says. 

Renaud was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to a short filmmaker bio from the Tribeca Film Festival.

“Of course, the profession of a journalist is a risk, but US citizen Brent Renaud paid his life for trying to highlight the aggressor’s ingenuity, cruelty and ruthlessness,” Nebytov said.

PBS NewsHour correspondent Jane Ferguson said on Twitter that she witnessed Renaud’s body “under a blanket” in Irpen.

“Ukrainian medics could do nothing to help him by that stage,” Ferguson said. She said an “outraged Ukrainian officer” told her to “tell America, tell the world, what they did to a journalist.”

Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s unicameral legislature, said in a Telegram that Renaud’s partner doesn’t yet know he has died.

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