AFP journalist Arman Soldin killed by rocket fire in Ukraine


AFP video coordinator for Ukraine Arman Soldin was killed by rocket fire near Chasiv Yar in the east on Tuesday Ukrainesaid AFP journalists who witnessed the incident.

The attack happened around 4:30 p.m. on the outskirts of the city near Bakhmut, the epicenter of fighting in eastern Ukraine for several months.

The AFP team came under fire from Grad rockets while with a group of Ukrainian soldiers.

Soldin, 32, was killed when a rocket landed near him. The rest of the team was unharmed.

“The entire agency is devastated by the loss of Arman,” said AFP chairman Fabrice Fries. “His death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers that journalists face every day when covering the conflict in Ukraine.”

Soldin was born in Sarajevo and was a French citizen.

He started as an intern in AFP’s Rome office in 2015 and was later hired in London.

He was part of the first AFP team sent to Ukraine after the Russian invasion began on February 24, 2022, arriving the following day.

Soldin had lived in Ukraine since September, managing the team’s reporting and regularly traveling to the front lines in the east and south.

Soldin’s death means at least 11 journalists or fixers and drivers employed by media teams were killed while covering the war in Ukraine, according to media advocacy groups Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“Arman’s brilliant work encapsulates everything that has made us so proud of AFP journalism in Ukraine,” Phil Chetwynd, the agency’s global news director, said in a statement. “Arman’s death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers of reporting this war. Our thoughts are with his family and friends tonight and with all of our local people in Ukraine.”

Christine Buhagiar, AFP’s Europe director, recalled Soldin as “enthusiastic, energetic and courageous”.

“He was a real on-the-ground reporter, always willing to work on even the most difficult spots,” she said. “He’s totally devoted to his craft.”

Just a day before his death, Soldin chronicled the horrors of war and posted a video on social media operating doctors at the heart of a wounded soldier.

Soldin, whose The Twitter profile picture shows a cat crouched on his back, apparently also had a soft spot for animals. Last week, an animal rescue group tweeted video of Soldin and his team rescuing an injured hedgehog from a ditch in Ukraine.

“The team found it barely alive, gave it some water and took it to a safe place,” Uanimals.ENG tweeted. “They fed the animal and let it recover for a few days before releasing it into the wild.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called A statement on Tuesday said: “Our hearts go out to the family of journalist Arman Soldin, who lost his life today while covering the war in Ukraine from the front lines, and to Arman’s colleagues at AFP. Journalism is fundamental to a free society. The world owes a debt of gratitude to Arman and the 10 other reporters and media workers who lost their lives while covering the horrors of the Russian invasion.”

AFP photojournalist Daniel Leal responded to the news of his colleague’s death with a simple message on Twitter: “Forever remembered. Forever loved. Arman Soldin.”

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