French Journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff Killed During Ukraine Evacuation

A French journalist was killed by Russian shelling while reporting on the civilian evacuation efforts in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, the Governor of Luhansk Oblast reported on Monday.

In a Telegram post, regional Governor Serhiy Haidai stated that the evacuation was halted after the death of French journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff.

"Today our armored evacuation vehicle was going to pick up 10 people from the area and came under enemy fire," the Telegram post said. "Shrapnel from shells pierced the armor of the car, a fatal wound to the neck was received by an accredited French journalist who was making material about the evacuation."

"We are officially stopping the evacuation," the post read. The Telegram post also had several graphic photos of his body laying on the road and a shattered bus window.

According to Reuters, the French foreign ministry is checking the report on Leclerc-Imhoff's death.

UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT
A French journalist was reportedly killed by Russian shelling while reporting on the evacuation efforts in Luhansk. In this photo, the remains of a destroyed school in which Ukrainian officials say 60 people sheltering in a basement died following a Russian military strike on the village of Bilogorivka, Lugansk region, eastern Ukraine, is pictured on May 13, 2022. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images

The spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oleg Nikolenko, wrote on Twitter on Monday that the Ministry "strongly condemn[s] this killing. The list of Russian crimes against media workers in Ukraine keeps expanding."

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization, Leclerc-Imhoff is at least the eighth journalist to be killed in Ukraine while covering the war since the start of the invasion on February 24, although more could be unconfirmed.

The journalist's death falls on the day the French Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna, visited Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in order to discuss France's support of Ukraine.

On Monday, Colonna tweeted, "I am deeply saddened & shocked by the death of our compatriot Frédéric Leclerc Imhoff, killed by a Russian bombardment on a humanitarian operation while exercising his duty to inform. All my thoughts are with his family, colleagues and journalists."

The Foreign Minister added that she spoke with Haidai and Zelensky, "who assured me of their help and support" in requesting a formal investigation into Imhoff's death.

"It is a double crime which targets a humanitarian convoy and a journalist," Colonna said.

French President Emmanuel Macron commented on Leclerc-Imhoff's death as well, writing on Twitter, "I share the pain of the family, relatives and colleagues of Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, to whom I send my condolences. To those who carry out the difficult mission of informing in theaters of operations, I would like to reiterate France's unconditional support."

The region of Luhansk has been under fire from Russian forces and Ukrainian officials reported last week that Russia has gained the advantage in the area, saying that more than 40 towns in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk came under bombardment.

Newsweek reached out to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

Update 5/30/2022 at 11:00 a.m.: This story has been updated with the journalist's identity.

Update 5/30/2022 at 11:50 a.m.: This story has been updated with additional information.