AFP journalist Arman Soldin, walks in a village after a shelling on March 3, 2022 in Ukraine. Soldin was killed by a rocket strike as he reported with AFP colleagues in Chasiv Yar on May 9, 2023. (AFP/Aris Messinis)

AFP journalist Arman Soldin killed while covering war in Ukraine

Paris, May 9, 2023—In response to multiple news reports that journalist Arman Soldin was killed on Tuesday, May 9, near the Ukrainian city of Chasiv Yar, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“The Committee to Protect Journalists is profoundly saddened by the death of journalist Arman Soldin while covering the war in Ukraine. We extend our deep condolences to his friends and family,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Journalists are civilians whose reporting from war zones is essential. We call on Russian and Ukrainian authorities to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of Soldin’s death.”

Soldin, a Bosnian-French video journalist with the French news agency Agence France-Presse, was killed in a rocket attack while working with four AFP journalists in the company of the Ukrainian military, according to those reports and Twitter posts by AFP. The four other journalists were uninjured. 

CPJ was not able to immediately confirm the source of the fire. Chasiv Yar is located near the frontline city of Bakhmut and is regularly shelled by Russian forces, according to media reports.

In an internal communication and an AFP draft statement reviewed by CPJ, AFP CEO Fabrice Fries said Soldin’s death was “a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers faced by journalists every day covering the conflict in Ukraine.” According to those sources, Soldin, 32, was one of the first AFP correspondents to enter Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

Soldin had worked with AFP since 2015 and became the agency’s Ukraine video coordinator in September 2022. He has been living in Ukraine since then, “leading the team’s coverage and traveling regularly to the front lines in the east and south,” the statement said. In Ukraine, Soldin worked exclusively with AFP as a staff journalist, an AFP representative told CPJ via email.

“Arman’s brilliant work encapsulated everything that has made us so proud of AFP’s journalism in Ukraine,” AFP Global News Director Phil Chetwynd said in the internal communication. “He was courageous, creative, and tenacious. He was, above all, an excellent journalist who was totally committed to the story.”

A representative with French broadcaster Canal +, who declined to give their name, told CPJ via messaging app that Soldin has been working as a freelance journalist for the outlet’s sports department since 2019. His last report was from April 15.

“He went back to Ukraine right after, and was supposed to come back on May 26,” the representative said. “The football editorial team is in shock.”

Soldin is at least the 15th journalist to be killed while reporting on the war since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

On April 26, 2023, Ukrainian producer Bohdan Bitik was killed while reporting on the war. At least two other French journalists, Pierre Zakrzewski and Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, have been killed covering the conflict.