Brent Reno, the award-winning American film director whose work has been featured in the New York Times and other media outlets, was reportedly killed by Russian forces in the restive town of Irbin outside Kyiv. American photographer Juan Arredondo was injured.
Reno, 51, was shot in the neck and died after being shot at by a Russian man while working on Sunday, according to local police officials, but this could not be independently verified.
Jane Ferguson, a PBS Newshour reporter who was nearby when Reno was killed, tweeted: “I just left a roadside spot near Irvine where the body of American journalist Brent Reno lay under a blanket. Ukrainian doctors couldn’t do anything to help him at that point. An angry Ukrainian police officer : “Tell America, tell the world, what they did to the journalist.”
Clifford Levy, deputy managing editor of The New York Times, issued a statement on Twitter explaining that Reno was not on assignment for the newspaper, contrary to previous reports.
“[The New York Times] He is deeply saddened to learn of the death of an American journalist in Ukraine, Brent Reno. Brent was a talented photographer and filmmaker, but was not on assignment for the New York Times in Ukraine. Early reports that he was working for the Times circulated because he wore a Times press badge that was issued for an assignment many years ago.”
“Brent’s death is a terrible loss,” Levy added. “Courageous journalists like Brent are taking enormous risks to testify and tell the world the devastation and suffering caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
“The occupiers are cynically killing even journalists of international media who are trying to show the truth about the atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine,” said Andrei Nepetov, the police chief of the Kyiv region, in a statement.
Arredondo, 45, a World Press Photo winner and assistant professor at Columbia University, said he and Renaud went to Irvine to photograph refugees fleeing town, and were shot at by troops near a checkpoint. He was filmed describing what happened while he was being treated at the hospital, and it was suggested that they were led into an ambush.
“We crossed the first bridge in Irvine. We were going to photograph all the refugees leaving. We got into a car… Someone offered to take us to the other bridge and we crossed a checkpoint and they started shooting at us,” Arredondo said. “So the driver turned around, and they kept shooting… and there were two of us. My friend is Brent Reno and he was shot and left behind.”
When the inquisitor asked how Renaud was, Arredondo replied: “I don’t know. I saw that he was shot in the neck. And we split.”
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN: “If an American journalist is actually killed, that is a horrific and horrific event. It is yet another example of the brutality of Vladimir Putin and his forces as they have targeted schools, mosques, hospitals and journalists.”
“And that is why we are working so hard to impose dire consequences on him, trying to help the Ukrainians with every form of military assistance that we can muster, so that we can repel the onslaught of these Russian forces.”