Video Journalist Killed by Rocket Fire in Ukraine

Arman Soldin an AFP journalist who was killed in Ukraine
Arman Soldin

The AFP news agency has announced the death of its Ukraine video coordinator Arman Soldin who was killed by rocket fire in the country on Tuesday.

One of his AFP colleagues Chasiv Yar witnessed the incident and said the death happened close to the embattled city of Bakhmut in Eastern Ukraine when a rocket struck close to where he was lying.

“We are devastated to learn of the death of AFP video journalist Arman Soldin in eastern Ukraine today,” AFP writes on Twitter. “All of our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones.”

Soldin was with four other colleagues when they came under fire at 16:30 local time yesterday, but the other journalists were not injured.

Soldin was an experienced reporter who had been in Ukraine since the very start of the Russian invasion. He had been in the role of AFP’s video coordinator since September 2022.

While Soldin was a French citizen, he was born in Sarajevo and evacuated to France in 1992 when the Bosnian war broke out.

“Stories about refugees affect me,” he told AFP in an interview a few months before his death. “I come from Bosnia, Sarajevo. I understand patriotism but I don’t know much about ultra-nationalism.”

Soldin joined the AFP as a trainee journalist in Rome, Italy in 2015 and was posted as a video journalist in London when Brexit was in full swing.

When war broke out in Ukraine, Soldin volunteered to become one of AFP’s first specialist correspondents, according to the agency’s obiturary.

Soldin was passionate about his work in Ukraine writing in February: “One year almost day to day since I’ve come to Ukraine for the first time and that my life changed forever,” he says.

“Very proud and moved of all the work, effort, and tears my colleagues and I have put into this. And we’re not done yet.”

AFP’s global news director Phil Chetwynd said Soldin’s work encapsulated the “brilliant” work of journalists in Ukraine.

“He was courageous, creative, and tenacious. He was above all an excellent journalist who was totally committed to the story,” says Chetwynd.

Soldin was always willing to go into difficult situations and partly as a result of his arduous working conditions, he shot a lot of his work on an iPhone owing to the medium’s speed and mobility.

“I only go up to people with my mobile,” he said. “It’s less scary for them.”

Soldin celebrated his 32nd birthday on March 21. “His death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers faced by journalists every day covering the conflict in Ukraine,” adds AFP chairman Fabrice Fries.

Soldin is not the first journalist to die in Ukraine, last year PetaPixel reported on the death of photojournalist Maksim Levin, a Reuters contributor, who was “executed in cold blood” by Russian forces.

PetaPixel also published a guide for photographers on how to stay safe while covering the war in Ukraine.