Under the Geneva Conventions, journalists working in conflict zones are considered civilians, which means that targeted attacks against them constitute war crimes. Earlier this month, a team of reporters from Britain’s Sky News were ambushed by a suspected Russian ambush despite repeatedly identifying themselves. Correspondent Stuart Ramsey was shot and injured and the crew was later evacuated to the UK.
Carlos Martinez de la Serna, program director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, on Sunday condemned Renaud’s murder and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of American journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine. This type of attack is totally unacceptable and constitutes a violation of international law,” Martinez de la Serna said in a statement. “Russian forces in Ukraine must immediately cease all violence against journalists and other civilians, and whoever killed Renaud must be held to account.
In 2015, Renaud and his brother Craig won a Peabody Award for their documentary Vice News Last Chance High, which has been praised for its “uncompromising look at school violence and its compassionate depiction” of struggling public school students with severe emotional disturbances.
Renaud, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, was also named a 2019 Nieman Fellow by Harvard University. Ann Marie Lipinski, curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, said they were heartbroken to learn of his death. “Our Nieman Fellow Brent Renaud was gifted and kind, and his work was imbued with humanity,” she said. wrote on Twitter.
The Renaud brothers’ work has often taken them to dangerous places, covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as cartel violence in Mexico and extremism in North Africa.
Sunday was yet another bloody day in Russia’s deadly war as forces advanced on the beleaguered southern city of Mariupol, hitting it with a series of bomb attacks. Earlier this week, a maternity ward in the city was destroyed by a Russian strike.
In one of the deadliest attacks of the war to date, an airstrike on a military training base in Yavoriv, western Ukraine, killed 35 people and injured dozens others, according to civil servants. The base was about 10 miles from the border of Poland, which is a member of NATO.
Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, warned that any attack – even accidental – that hits the territory of a NATO member would be met with strong support from member countries.
“The president has repeatedly made it clear that the United States will work with our allies to defend every square inch of NATO territory, and that means every square inch,” he told CBS. “And if there is a military attack on NATO territory, that would trigger the invocation of Article Five, and we would call upon the full force of the NATO alliance to respond to it.”
Chris Miller contributed reporting from Ukraine.