A 32-year-old French journalist has been killed in Ukraine after being hit in the neck by shrapnel from Russian shelling while traveling in a humanitarian vehicle near to Severodonetsk, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron has said today that French journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhof has been killed while working in Ukraine.
The French president said that Mr Leclerc-Imhof had been in Ukraine to show the "reality of war" while working for the 24-hour news channel BFMTV
French foreign minister Catherine Colonna said that the 32-year-old journalist was covering an evacuation operation near the eastern city of Severodonetsk when he was killed.
In a tweet, President Macron said: "On board a humanitarian bus, alongside civilians forced to flee to escape Russian bombs, he was fatally shot."
"To those who carry out the difficult mission of informing in theatres of operations, I would like to reiterate France's unconditional support", He added.
President Macron also said that he shared the "pain of the family, relatives, and colleagues" of Mr Leclerc-Imhoff.
Ms Colonna has demanded a "transparent investigation to be undertaken as soon as possible", in the tragic event that she described as "deeply shocking".
In a statement released by BFMTV they said that Mr Leclerc-Imhoff was the "victim of shrapnel" and was killed on the road to Lysychansk. they added that "he was accompanied by his colleague Maxime Brandstaetter, who was slightly injured during the strike, and their 'fixer' Oksana Leuta, who was not affected."
This was the French journalist's second deployment in Ukraine since the start of the war, he had worked for the TV channel for the past 6 years.
The regional governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai, said that the reporter suffered a "fatal wound to the neck".
Mr Haidai said on Telegram that shrapnel had pierced an armoured vehicle and the evacuation effort had to be halted.
Mr Haidai wrote: "Today our armoured evacuation vehicle was going to pick up 10 people from the area and came under enemy fire. "Shrapnel from shells pierced the armour of the vehicle. A fatal wound to the neck was received by an accredited French journalist who was making material about the evacuation.
"A patrol policeman was saved by his helmet. We are officially stopping the evacuation."
Mr Haidai added that an intense battle for the key city of Severodonetsk is currently ongoing, stating that Russian forces have entered the outskirts and are pushing forward towards nearby Lysychansk.
He added that two other civilians had been killed and a further five seriously injured in today's Russian shelling in the region.
He continued: "Moscow's forces are using the same tactics over and over again. They shell for several hours - for three, four, five hours in a row and then attack. "Those who attack die. Then shelling and attack follow again, and so on, until they break through somewhere."