AFP holds minute of silence for journalist Arman Soldin killed in Ukraine
Journalists and staff of Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Paris and across the world held a minute of silence on Thursday to remember their colleague Arman Soldin who was killed earlier this week in Ukraine.
Soldin, AFP's video coordinator in Ukraine, was killed on Tuesday when an AFP team came under fire by Grad rockets while they were with a group of Ukrainian soldiers near Bakhmut, the epicentre of the fighting for months.
"Arman represented the very best of AFP," the agency's global news director Phil Chetwynd told staff ahead of the minute of silence at midday GMT.
Hundreds of AFP staff observed the minute of silence at Paris headquarters and from bureaux around the world via video conference.
Soldin, 32, was an "unbelievably dedicated journalist who believed his work could make the world a better place, he was in Ukraine because he believed in that", added Chetwynd.
The death of Soldin brought to at least 11 the number of journalists, fixers or drivers for media teams killed since Russia invaded Ukraine more than a year ago, according to advocacy groups.
Tributes to Soldin poured in from France and Ukraine as well as from the rest of the world.
French anti-terror prosecutors said Wednesday they were launching a war crime investigation into the death of Soldin, a French citizen born in Bosnia.
It will be handled by the OCLCH, an investigating unit specialising in crimes against humanity and hate crimes, and will seek to determine the exact circumstances of Soldin's death, the prosecutors said.
AFP "is at the disposal of prosecutors" to assist in their investigation, chief executive Fabrice Fries, said Thursday.
The agency also needed to "take care of the family" and "of the team which is in Ukraine and which went through this tragedy", he added, saying a cell of psychological experts would be set up to help.
He said that the missions by AFP's Ukraine team to the eastern front had been "suspended for a few days" but would then resume.