WARNING: Graphic images.
An American journalist and filmmaker has been killed by Russian soldiers while reporting in Ukraine on the millions of refugees fleeing major cities.
Brent Renaud, 50, and his colleague Juan Arredondo, were crossing a checkpoint when the troops opened fire on the car they were in near Romanivsky Bridge in Irpin, 10 kilometres northwest from Kyiv.
The former New York Times contributor was shot in the neck on Sunday and is believed to have died at the scene.
His friend Mr. Arredondo was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance for treatment for gunshot wounds to his lower back.
In a video, he recalled the horrifying moments of the attack after they were offered a lift by “somebody” to cross the checkpoint.
“We had crossed the first bridge in Irpin. We were going to film other refugees leaving,” he told an Italian journalist.
“We got into a car. Somebody offered to take us to the other bridge.
“We crossed a checkpoint, and they started shooting at us. The driver turned around, there were two of us. My friend is Brent Renaud.”
In a video, fellow colleague Juan Arredondo, who is in hospital receiving treatment, recalled the horrifying moments of the attack after they were offered a lift by “somebody” to cross the checkpoint. Picture: Supplied
Mr. Arredondo said he was split up with Mr Renaud, and did not know what condition he was in after he witnessed his friend being shot in the neck.
Reporter Jane Ferguson, who is in Ukraine to report on the war for PBS, shared an image of an unidentifiable person underneath a cheeta-print blanket, who she claims is Mr Renaud.
“#BrentRenaud was killed while filming civilians escaping a Russian military onslaught on their small town near #Kiev,” she wrote on Twitter alongside the confronting image.
“The Russian military has not spare civilians or journalists throughout this war, something Renaud himself came here to make the world all the more aware of.”
Andrey Nebitov, head of the Kyiv region police, confirmed the news by sharing the passport and media pass, with New York Times written on it, found by officers in Mr Renaud’s belongings.
“The occupants cynical even kill journalists of the international media who try to show the truth about the inaction of Russian troops in Ukraine,” he wrote to Facebook.
“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”.
Kyiv police said Brent Renaud “paid his life” for trying to show the rest of the world what was happening in Ukraine. Picture: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Peabody Awards
Andrey Nebitov, head of the Kyiv region police, confirmed the news of his death by sharing the passport and media pass his officers found, with New York Times written on it, owned by Mr Renaud. Picture: Facebook
Mr Nebitov later shared a 48-second clip by one of his officers at the scene, that reportedly shows Mr Renaud’s body in the background.
A second image appeared to show he suffered a second gun shot wound to the right side of his had.
In a statement, the New York Times said it was “deeply saddened” to hear the new of Mr Renaud’s passing but confirmed he was not working for the publication in Ukraine.
“Brent was a talented photographer and filmmaker who had contributed to The New York Times”, Deputy Managing Editor Cliff Levy said.
“Though he had contributed to The Times in the past (most recently in 2015), he was not on assignment for any desk at The Times in Ukraine.”
Mr Levy added there was initial confusion of who he was working for as he was using a pass from a previous job with the publication.
The destroyed city of Irpin, 10 kilometres northwest of Kyiv, where Mr Renaud was killed. Picture: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Getty
Local residents have been fleeing for the past few days as the Kremlin ramped up its attack on Ukraine. Picture: Getty Images
Soliders in Irpin patrolling the streets. Picture: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Getty
There has been no response from the Kremlin since the report of the attack on the Western journalist.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has increased his aggression over recent days, attacking more cities, and innocent civilians as they tried to flee an onslaught of attacks.
A Russian missile strike targeted a western Ukrainian military base on Sunday, which served as a crucial hub between Ukraine and NATO countries supporting its defence.
Thirty five people were killed from a reported 35 strikes as concerns grow over the Kremlin’s war easing precariously close to Poland.