NEW YORK – A 24-year-old Ukrainian journalist working for Fox News and a veteran videographer were killed when their vehicle caught fire outside Kyiv, the network said on Tuesday.
Pierre Zakrzewski, 55, and Alexandra “Sasha” Kuvshinova were traveling in Horenka on Monday with Fox News reporter Benjamin Hall, who is hospitalized.
“Today is a heartbreaking day for Fox News Media and for all the journalists who risk their lives to deliver news,” said network CEO Suzanne Scott. said in an employee memorandum.
On Sunday, documentary filmmaker Brent Renaud, another veteran of covering war zones, died after Russian forces opened fire on his vehicle in Irpin outside Kyiv.
The deaths of three journalists in a short time underscore the dangers facing those chronicling the war in Ukraine, even those with extensive experience from conflict zones.
Summer Lopez, director of the Free Expression Program at PEN America, said the threats to journalists are increasing by the day, as the fighting becomes more brutal and concentrated in more urban areas.
Zakrzewski, an Irish citizen living in London, covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria for Fox and won an internal “Unsung Hero” award last year for the role he played in getting Fox freelancers and their families out of Afghanistan. had won. America’s return. He had been working in Ukraine since February.
Fox national security reporter Jennifer Griffin tweeted, “Such a nice guy.”
Trey Youngst, another colleague who worked with Zakrzewski in Ukraine, called them “as good as they come”.
Kuvshinova was a local “fixer”, as it is known in the war zones. She helped Fox employees navigate the Kyiv area, gathered information and spoke to sources. He had a passion for music, art and photography, Scott said in a staff memo.
Scott wrote, “Many of our reporters and producers spent long days reporting the news and got to know him personally, describing him as hard-working, funny, kind and brave.” “His dream was to connect people around the world and tell their stories, and he accomplished that through his journalism.”
On Tuesday in Washington, Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Oksana Markova, thanked journalists in Ukraine.
“Ricking your life to tell the world the truth” is something that Ukraine and the world desperately need, he told the National Press Club.
Jane Ferguson, a PBS “NewsHour” correspondent in Ukraine who has also reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Syria, said on Twitter that the war is “incredibly difficult to cover as a field reporter, as that I have seen or experienced before.”
With intense artillery fire that can reach for miles and the vague fluidity of the Army’s position, there is virtually no front line, Ferguson wrote.
Ferguson said he and his crew were recently pulled out of their car at gunpoint by Ukrainian soldiers who mistakenly thought they were being filmed from the car. Journalists were waved after their credentials check, “but for a few minutes it was too bad.”
Ferguson said that few journalists are officially associated with troops – as they were in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example – so many journalists are roaming freely and without good intelligence, which is particularly dangerous. .
In an interview, ABC News reporter Martha Radtz said that Ukraine reminded her to cover the Siege of Sarajevo because there are no American troops.
“It’s a big deal for me,” she said. “You feel like, ‘Oh, wait. There are no Americans here. There is no security for us here.’ I think you’re very familiar with that.”
Gulnoza Saeed, coordinator of the Europe and Central Asia program for the Committee to Protect Journalists, is hearing from journalists in Ukraine about checkpoints where it is not clear whether they are coming at Russian or Ukrainian troops.
She said journalists are telling her they are concerned that Ukrainian authorities are trying to limit the areas and hours in which they can work.
“I need to figure out what they want to do,” she said. “I hope it’s not because they want to control the war narrative.”
The news of Zakrzewski’s death hit Ireland particularly hard on Tuesday. Irish Premier Michael Martin said he was deeply disturbed by the news.
“My thoughts are with their families, friends and fellow journalists,” Martin said. “We condemn this indiscriminate and immoral war by Russia on Ukraine.”
Associated Press correspondent Lynn Elber in Los Angeles and Danica Kirka in London contribute to this report.