Soldin: AFP journalist Arman Soldin killed in eastern Ukraine

CHASIV YAR: Arman, AFP video coordinator in Ukraine Sold in was killed by rocket fire near Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, AFP journalists who witnessed the incident said.
The attack occurred at around 4:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. GMT) on the outskirts of the nearby town of Bakhmut, the epicenter of fighting in eastern Ukraine for several months.
The AFP team came under Grad rocket fire while they were with a group of Ukrainian soldiers.
Soldin, 32, was killed when a rocket hit near where he was lying. The rest of the team is unharmed.
“The whole agency is devastated by the loss of Arman,” said AFP President Fabrice Fries.
“His death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers facing journalists covering the conflict in Ukraine every day.
French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Soldin on Twitter, hailing his “bravery”.
“With bravery, from the first hours of the conflict he was at the front to establish the facts. To inform us,” Macron wrote, saying he shared “the pain of his loved ones and all his colleagues”.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry offered its “sincere condolences” to Soldin’s family and colleagues in a statement on Twitter, saying he was killed in a Russian missile attack on Chasiv Yar in the eastern region of Donetsk.
“He dedicated his life to informing the world of truth. His legacy, as well as his cause, will live on,” he said.
Born in Sarajevo, Soldin was a French national who started working for AFP as an intern in its 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 next day.
Soldin had lived in Ukraine since September, directing the team’s video coverage and traveling regularly to frontlines in the east and south.
“Devoted to his craft”
Soldin’s death means at least 11 journalists or media fixers and drivers were killed covering the war in Ukraine, media advocacy groups Reporters say Without limits (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
In Washington, the White House also paid tribute to Soldin, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying the world was “indebted” to the journalists who lost their lives covering the conflict.
“Journalism is fundamental to a free society,” she said in a statement.
“Arman’s brilliant work sums up everything that makes us so proud of AFP journalism in Ukraine,” said the agency’s news director. Phil Chetwynd said.
“Arman’s death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers of covering this war. Our thoughts tonight are with his family and friends, and all of our people on the ground in Ukraine.”
AFP Europe director Christine Buhagiar remembers Soldin as “a real field reporter, always ready to work even in the most difficult places”, she said. “He was totally dedicated to his craft.”
Colleagues said Soldin especially knew how to tell the lives of ordinary people caught up in the Ukrainian conflict, desperately trying to survive amidst the chaos.
In kyiv, he found a tender moment between a conscript father and his young son who had fled overseas, bonding over an online strategy game.
Earlier this month, he even rescued an injured hedgehog from a trench and treated him. He named him Lucky.
The founder of Ukrainian animal rights organization UAnimals, Oleksandr Todorchuk, spoke of Soldin’s “absolute kindness” when he came to the aid of the hedgehog.
UAnimals was setting up a grant for volunteers and shelters that save hedgehogs “in memory of Soldin and his big heart,” Todorchuk wrote on Facebook.


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