February 23, 2024

Award-winning American journalist, Brent Renaud was killed by Russian forces in Irpin, Ukraine, according to Kyiv region police in social media posts yesterday. Kyiv police said another American journalist was wounded by Russian troops.

In a tweet, Kyiv region police named the 50-year-old American journalist, who was killed as Brent Renaud. Police posted a photo of his body and his American passport as evidence, as well as a photo of an outdated New York Times press badge with Brent Renaud’s name.

An adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, Anton Gerashchenko, said in a statement that Renaud “paid with his life for attempting to expose the insidiousness, cruelty and ruthlessness of the aggressor,” according to a New York Times report.

CNN has been unable to verify which media outlet the American journalists were working for in Ukraine.

The New York Times said in a statement yesterday, “We are deeply saddened to hear of Brent Renaud’s death. Brent was a talented filmmaker who had contributed to The New York Times over the years. Though he had contributed to The Times in the past (most recently in 2015), he was not on assignment for any desk at The Times in Ukraine. Early reports that he worked for Times circulated because he was wearing a Times press badge that had been issued for an assignment many years ago.”

The northern Ukrainian city of Irpin, just outside Kyiv, has been the site of substantial Russian shelling in recent days and has seen extensive destruction, according to the Kyiv regional government on Friday.

Brent Renaud was a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker, producer, and journalist, who lived and worked in New York City and Little Rock, Arkansas, according to his biography on the Renaud Brothers website.

With his brother Craig, Renaud spent years “telling humanistic verite stories from the World’s hot spots,” including projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Egypt, and Libya, according to his website bio. Brent Renaud was a 2019 Harvard Nieman Fellow.

A post on the Renaud Brothers Facebook page, dated March 8, urged readers to follow their coverage of the war Ukraine.

The director of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard said on Sunday that the foundation is “heartsick” over the death of American journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine.

“Our Nieman Fellow Brent Renaud was gifted and kind, and his work was infused with humanity. He was killed today outside Kiev, and the world and journalism are lesser for it. We are heartsick,” said foundation curator Ann Marie Lipinski in a tweet.

The Committee to Protect Journalists also yesterday condemned the killing of Renaud and called for the killers to be brought to justice.

The New York-based organization said in a statement, “U.S. reporter Brent Renaud was shot and killed, and another journalist was injured yesterday in the city of Irpin, outside of Kyiv, according to a Ukrainian police official and news reports. In denouncing the shooting, the Committee to Protect Journalists called for the killers to be brought to justice.”

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of U.S. journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine. This kind of attack is totally unacceptable, and is a violation of international law,” added the CPJ’s program director Carlos Martinez de la Serna in the statement. “Russian forces in Ukraine must stop all violence against journalists and other civilians at once, and whoever killed Renaud should be held to account.”

Ukraine, Russia say ‘joint position’ in peace talks could be reached soon

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak said yesterday that he thinks they will “achieve concrete results” from talks with Russia in the next few days.

In a video posted on Twitter, Podoliak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said that Russia “becomes much more sensitive to the Ukrainian position” and has “started to talk constructively.”

“Our proposals are on the table. They are very tough. Among them, the withdrawal of troops, the ceasefire,” Podoliak added. “We shall not give up on any points, out of principle.”

Russia says there has been ‘substantial progress’ in peace talks and ‘joint position’ could be reached soon

The possible breakthrough comes after Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak also said he thought progress could be made in the talks with Russia in a “matter of days”.

Also, Russian delegate involved in peace negotiations said the talks have made “substantial progress” and a “joint position” could be reached soon, the state-controlled Russian news agency RIA has reported.

Leonid Slutsky added the delegations could soon reach draft agreements.

Mr Slutsky said: “According to my personal expectations, this progress may grow in the coming days into a joint position of both delegations, into documents for signing.”Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday there had been some “positive shifts” in the talks, but did not elaborate.

On Saturday the Kremlin said the discussions between Russian and Ukrainian officials had been continuing “in video format”.

SANCTIONS: Russia counts on China as US warns Beijing

Russia has said it is banking on China’s help to withstand the crippling economic sanctions placed by Western nations over the war in Ukraine as the United States warned Beijing not to provide that lifeline.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said sanctions had deprived Moscow of access to $300bn of its $640bn in gold and foreign exchange reserves, and added that there was pressure on Beijing to shut off more.

“We have part of our gold and foreign exchange reserves in the Chinese currency, in yuan. And we see what pressure is being exerted by Western countries on China in order to limit mutual trade with China. Of course, there is pressure to limit access to those reserves,” he said yesterday.

“But I think that our partnership with China will still allow us to maintain the cooperation that we have achieved, and not only maintain, but also increase it in an environment where Western markets are closing.”

Western countries have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia’s corporate and financial system since it invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a special military operation.

Siluanov’s comments in a TV interview marked the clearest statement yet from Moscow that it will seek help from China to cushion the effect.

“We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions, evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them,” Sullivan told CNN.

“We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world,” added Sullivan, who is due to meet China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday.

China has been one of the few countries to avoid criticising the Russians for their invasion of Ukraine. China’s Xi Jinping hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin for the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing just weeks before Russia launched the February 24 invasion.

During Putin’s visit to China last month, the two leaders issued a 5,000-word statement declaring “no limits” in the friendship between the two countries.

Chinese officials have also said Washington should not be able to complain about Russia’s actions because the US invaded Iraq under false pretences. The US claimed to have evidence Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction though none was ever found.

Russian troops attempting to block off Kyiv

Russian troops are trying to block off Kyiv from the east, in addition to other access points, as part of their siege on the capital, the Ukrainian army has said.

Russian units had crossed the E95 route in the direction of the suburbs Browary and Boryspil, while to the north-west and north-east of the city, Russia was gathering forces for an advance.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Kyiv, said the streets of the capital were empty as people bunkered down. Everyone is “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” Khan said.

Latvian seeks permanent NATO base for protection against Russian aggression

Latvian President Egils Levits stressed yesterday that a permanent NATO military base in Latvia is “absolutely” needed in order to protect the country against any potential Russian aggression there.

“Absolutely. NATO should strengthen the NATO eastern flank. That’s the Baltics, Poland, Romania, so that this would be a strong signal to Moscow that NATO is ready to defend the member states,” Levits told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked whether US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s announcement that NATO is establishing a permanent base in Latvia would help protect the country against Russia.

“I welcome also the American troops in Poland and Baltics, and we need a permanent presence of American troops in this area. I think it is a response to Russian ideas on aggression beyond Ukraine,” he added.

“So, we should defend our way of life, our democracies, and this is a question for the confidence to the West. It is an exam for the West. It is an exam for the American leadership. And I’m sure that America and the West as a whole, they’ll pass this exam.ýÿýÿ

Latvia, a NATO member that shares a border with Russia, has in recent days condemned Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The war has caused the US to help Latvia shore up its defences, including by sending hundreds of American troops and some fighter jets to the country.

Bus full of Ukrainian refugees overturns in Italy; one dead

A bus carrying about 50 Ukrainian refugees overturned on a major highway in northern Italy at dawn on Sunday, killing one person, Italian firefighters said.

Italian state TV said there were also five people injured, but none of the injuries was serious, in the accident on the A14 autostrada near Forli’, a town in the Emilia-Romagna region in northeastern Italy. It said the rest of those aboard were safely evacuated.

Italy’s Interior Ministry said the bus had set out from Ukraine and was heading south to Pescara, an Adriatic port city, when it overturned. Some 35,000 Ukrainians refugees who fled war in their homeland have entered Italy, most of them through its northeastern border with Slovenia.

What caused the bus to overturn was under investigation.

Anti-war protesters detained in Russia

Anti-war demonstrations are once again taking place around the world, including in Russia – where vocal Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny has called for people there to take a stand against President Putin and the invasion of Ukraine.

Police rounded up some of the protesters in Manezhnaya Square in central Moscow.

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