AFP journalist Arman Soldin killed in rocket fire near Bakhmut

Video journalist Arman Soldin was killed Tuesday afternoon by a Grad rocket attack in eastern Ukraine, according to AFP journalists accompanying him.

Soldin was named Agence France-Presse video coordinator in Ukraine and oversaw coverage on the frontline of the war in the country.

The shelling took place at around 4:30 pm local time (13:30 GMT) in the vicinity of Chasiv Yar, a Ukrainian town near Bakhmut, which is targeted by Russian forces on a daily basis.

Soldin, 32, was with four colleagues when the strike hit. The rest were unharmed. The group of journalists were with Ukrainian military personnel when they were caught in the rocket fire.

The general area of Bakhmut in Donetsk has been the epicentre of the fighting in Ukraine for several months.

A French national, Soldin, who was born in Sarajevo, previously worked for AFP in Rome in 2015 as an intern before joining the London bureau the same year.

He faced dangerous escalations on the frontline as recently as 30 April, when he posted footage on social media from the area of Bakhmut showing Grad rockets landing in the area.

“The agency as a whole is devastated,” said AFP CEO Fabrice Fries.

“His death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers that journalists face every day in covering the conflict in Ukraine,” he added.

“Arman was the kind of guy who saved hurt hedgehogs in war zones,” AFP’s Moscow and Kyiv Deputy News Editor Jonathan Brown wrote on Twitter. “He was an incredible and vibrant personality and a great journalist.”

“We miss him. We are mourning him. Rest in peace,” Brown said.

AFP journalist Arman Soldin, walks in a trench as he is covering the war in Ukraine on 18 March 2023.

Soldin was also part of the AFP team that covered the very first days of the Russian invasion.

“Arman was enthusiastic, energetic and courageous. He was a real field reporter, always ready to go, even in the most difficult areas,” said AFP’s European director Christine Buhagiar.

“He was full of energy, which is how he described himself on the networks. He was totally devoted to his job as a journalist,” she said.

Soldin is one of at least 11 media employees who have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion began on 24 February 2022, according to a count by RSF and CPJ.

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