National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CBS News on Sunday that the US would consult the Ukrainian government to determine how American war correspondent Brent Renaud was killed in Irpin, near Kiev. Ukrainian sources blame Russian forces, but details of the incident remain unclear.
“I will be consulting with my colleagues, we’ll be consulting with the Ukrainians to determine how this happened and then to measure and execute appropriate consequences as a result of it,” Sullivan told CBS.
“This is part and parcel of what has been the brazen aggression on the part of the Russians where they have targeted civilians… and they have targeted journalists,” he said.
It remains unclear what kind of response the US is considering. President Joe Biden remains insistent that the US will not engage Russia militarily in Ukraine, and Sullivan echoed this sentiment on Sunday, but added that “If Russia attacks, fires upon, takes a shot at NATO territory, the NATO alliance would respond to that.”
News of Brent Renaud’s death was first reported by Kiev Region Police chief Andrei Nebytov, who shared images of a New York Times press pass belonging to Renaud and a bloodied corpse – allegedly the journalist’s. Nebytov accused Russian forces of killing the reporter.
The Times issued a statement shortly afterwards saying that Renaud was not on assignment in Ukraine, and had last worked for the newspaper in 2015.
Renaud’s colleague, a Colombian-American photographer named by The Guardian as Juan Arredondo, was wounded, and told another reporter in hospital that they were fired upon after they were driven past a checkpoint to film refugees leaving Irpen. He did not say who fired, or whether himself and Renaud were being driven in a military or civilian vehicle. Several Western reporters were nearby at the time of the shooting.
The International Federation of Journalists blamed Russia for Renaud’s death, claiming that he “died after coming under Russian fire.” The Committee to Protect Journalists meanwhile called on Brent Renaud’s killers to be brought to justice, but admitted that it was “unable to immediately confirm the source of the gunfire.”