Berliner Zeitung De AFP Journalist Killed in Rocket Attack – France Initiates War Crimes Investigation. Arman Soldin died near Bachmut. The French anti-terrorism prosecution announces it will initiate an investigation into war crimes.
At the time of the attack, around 4:30 p.m. local time, the AFP team was traveling with Ukrainian soldiers. The journalists came under Russian rocket fire. Soldin was fatally hit. He had thrown himself to the ground in an attempt to protect himself, a colleague reports. The rest of the AFP team was able to escape unharmed.
“The entire agency is devastated by the loss of Arman. His death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers journalists face daily while covering the conflict in Ukraine,” said President-General Director Fabrice Fries.
Anti-Terror Prosecution to Initiate War Crimes Investigation
The National Anti-Terror Prosecution in France announced the initiation of a war crimes investigation. The exact circumstances of the 32-year-old’s death are to be clarified, as reported by the French newspaper Le Figaro.
French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on the microblogging service Twitter after Soldin’s death became known: “Bravely, he was on the front lines from the first hours of the conflict, researching the facts, to inform us.
A short time later, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense also expressed its sentiments on the platform, offering its “sincere condolences” to Soldin’s family and colleagues. “He sacrificed his life to report the truth to the world.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was “devastated” at the news of the death. He offered condolences to Soldin’s family and relatives. “Our thoughts are with them and the entire AFP family.”
Deceased AFP Journalist: Kremlin Demands Investigation into Circumstances of Death
Moscow expressed its regret over Soldin’s death and called for an investigation into the circumstances of his death. “We need to understand the circumstances of the journalist’s death,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov stated on Wednesday in Moscow. The claims by Ukraine that Russia was responsible for the death should not be taken “at face value”. “In this matter, we can only express our sorrow,” Peskov continued.
Arman Soldin: “Stories of Refugees Touch Me
Soldin had been working as a journalist for AFP since 2015, initially as an intern in the Rome office, later he moved to London. He spoke fluent English, French, and Italian. Born in Sarajevo, Soldin also held French citizenship.
At just under a year old, in 1992 he was among the first people to be evacuated from besieged Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. “Stories of refugees touch me,” Soldin shared in a 2022 blog post for AFP, where he reported on his work in Ukraine.
From the first day of the Russian invasion, Soldin reported from Ukraine – often directly from the front lines. He voluntarily joined the first AFP reporter team that was sent to the country one day after the start of the war. Since September, he had been living permanently in Ukraine, coordinating the work of video journalists and regularly traveling to the front in the east and south of Ukraine himself.
On the anniversary of the Russian invasion, Soldin wrote that he was “proud and moved” by the work that he and his colleagues put “much effort and tears” into. He said at the time, “It’s not over yet.”
With Soldin’s death, the number of journalists, as well as helpers and drivers of media teams, killed in Ukraine according to journalist organizations, rose to at least eleven, it was said.