French journalist Arman Soldin killed in rocket strike near Bakhmout

The 32-year-old video coordinator worked for Agence France-Presse. He is at least the 11th reporter, fixer or driver of journalists to have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

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Journalist Arman Soldin, photo transmitted by AFP on May 9, 2023, the day of his death near Bakhmout, Ukraine.  (AFP)

Agence France-Presse’s video coordinator in Ukraine, Arman Soldin, was killed on Tuesday (May 9 afternoon) in a rocket attack, the agency reported. The bombardment took place around 4:30 p.m. (local time) in the vicinity of Chassiv Iar, near Bakhmout, which is targeted daily by Russian forces. Arman Soldin was with four colleagues who are all unharmed. They were with Ukrainian soldiers when they were taken under the salvo of rockets.

“The Agency as a whole has collapsed”

The French journalist, who was born in Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina), was 32 years old. An experienced image reporter previously stationed in London, Arman Soldin had been the video coordinator in Ukraine since September 2022 and traveled very regularly to the front lines. He was also part of the AFP team that covered the very first days of the Russian invasion. He is at least the 11th reporter, fixer or driver of journalists to have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.

“The Agency as a whole has collapsed”said Fabrice Fries, CEO of AFP. “His death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers faced by journalists on a daily basis when covering the conflict in Ukraine”, he added. Phil Chetwynd, AFP’s news director, hailed the memory of a journalist “brave, creative and tenacious”. “Arman’s brilliant work summed up everything that makes us proud of AFP journalism in Ukraine”, he added. His colleague Daphné Rousseau praised on Twitter “[s]we mate, [s]we pair”, “the best, the most professional, the calmest, the most smiling, the most human”.

Reactions from politicians

Among the first political reactions, the Secretary General of the French Communist Party, Fabien Roussel, himself a former journalist, addressed his “condolences” to the relatives of the reporter.

The president of the South region, Renaud Muselier (Les Républicains), also expressed his “huge emotion”. “To inform us, to enlighten us, journalists risk their lives.”

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