U.S. journalist Brent Renaud killed in Irpin, Ukraine police say

Ukrainian police said Sunday that a U.S. video journalist, Brent Renaud, was killed in the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, which has been devastated by Russian attacks as Moscow’s invasion enters its third week.

Although the police statement described the filmmaker as a New York Times staffer, he is a former contributor who was not on assignment in Ukraine at the time, according to the Times.

"We are deeply saddened to hear of Brent Renaud’s death. Brent was a talented filmmaker who had contributed to the New York Times over the years," a spokesperson told Yahoo News.

"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. Early reports that he worked for Times circulated because he was wearing a Times press badge that had been issued for an assignment many years ago."

Brent Renaud's New York Times press pass in a pouch with a U.S. flag and labeled Peacekeeper.
The Ukrainian police force shared a photo of Brent Renaud's press pass on social media. (Sceenshot via Facebook/Андрій Нєбитов)

Time magazine issued a statement saying Renaud was working on a video project for the magazine on refugees.

"We are devastated by the loss of Brent Renaud," Time magazine's leadership wrote. "As an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Brent tackled the toughest stories around the world often alongside his brother Craig Renaud. In recent weeks, Brent was in the region working on a TIME Studios project focused on the global refugee crisis. Our hearts are with all of Brent’s loved ones. It is essential that journalists are able to safely cover this ongoing invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine."

Renaud’s family could not be immediately reached for comment. Renaud and his brother have received widespread recognition for their films, including the prestigious Peabody Award.

Earlier on Sunday, Andriy Nebitov, the chief of the police in the Kyiv region, posted news of Renaud's death on Facebook, including a photo of his New York Times press badge, U.S. passport and body.

"The invaders cynically kill even international media journalists who are trying to show the truth about the atrocities of Russian troops in Ukraine. ... A correspondent of the world-famous New York Times media was shot dead in Irpen. Another journalist was wounded. Currently, they are trying to take the victim out of the combat zone," Nebitov wrote, according to Interfax Ukraine's translation.

Brent Renaud attends the International Documentary Association’s 2014 IDA Documentary Awards at Paramount Studios on Friday, December 5, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision for IDA/AP Images)
Brent Renaud attends the International Documentary Association’s 2014 IDA Documentary Awards at Paramount Studios. (Todd Williamson/Invision for IDA/AP Images)

U.S. security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday on CNN that he was still seeking to confirm the report of Renaud's death, but said it would be yet another example of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "brutality."

"If in fact an American journalist was killed, it is a shocking and horrifying event," Sullivan said. "It is one more example of the brutality of Vladimir Putin and his forces as they've targeted schools and mosques and hospitals and journalists. And it is why we are working so hard to impose severe consequences on him and to try to help the Ukrainians with every form of military assistance we can muster."

Irpin has been the site of intense street fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces as the Kremlin's troops encircle Ukraine's capital. One of the most striking images of the war, a family of four refugees killed by mortar fire, was taken in Irpin.

See also: Photos: Ukraine refugees flee Irpin amid Russian bombing