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PARIS (AP) — A 32-year-old French journalist was killed Monday in eastern Ukraine, fatally hit by shell shrapnel while covering a Ukrainian evacuation operation, according to the French news broadcaster he worked for.
BFM TV said Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff was killed as he was “covering a humanitarian operation in an armored vehicle” near Sievierodonetsk, a key city in the Donbas region that is being hotly contested by Russian and Ukrainian forces. He had worked for six years for the French television channel.
French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Leclerc-Imhoff on Twitter, saying he “was in Ukraine to show the reality of the war.”
“Aboard a humanitarian bus, alongside civilians forced to flee to escape Russian bombs, he was fatally shot,” Macron tweeted.
Macron expressed condolences to his family, relatives and colleagues and spoke of “France’s unconditional support” to “those who carry out the difficult mission of informing in theaters of operations.”
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said the journalist’s death was “deeply shocking.” She tweeted that he was killed “by Russian bombing.”
“France demands that a transparent inquiry be launched as soon as possible to shed full light on the circumstances of this tragedy,” she said in a written statement.
Colonna, who was on a planned visit to the Ukrainian’s capital Kyiv on Monday, later called the tragedy “a crime” to reporters.
She said she talked to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and asked him to do “everything” to allow the journalist’s body to be returned to France as soon as