Russia keeps escalating tensions more and more – The Russian invasion of Ukraine has turned into a bloodbath with heavy casualties on both sides. However, on Sunday, the war claimed its first American journalist. New York Times journalist Brent Renaud was shot and killed at a checkpoint by Russian soldiers.
He and his partner were there trying to record the plight of civilians being internally displaced when they were fired upon in Irpin, just outside of Kyiv. His partner was interviewed by a Ukrainian journalist while being treated at a local hospital. Renaud was shot in the neck and killed.
“A 51-year-old world-renowned media correspondent was shot in Irpin today,” police chief Andriy Nebytov posted on Facebook. “Another journalist is injured. Now they are trying to remove the victim from the war zone.”
The Times released a statement saying that while Renaud was a member of the paper, he was not there on assignment.
“The Times “is deeply saddened to learn of the death of an American journalist in Ukraine, Brent Renaud,” Cliff Levy, the deputy managing editor said in a post on Twitter. “Brent was a talented photographer and filmmaker, but he was not on assignment for @nytimes in Ukraine.”
“He was wearing a Times press badge that had been issued for an assignment many years ago,” the statement from The Times added.
Russian Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), a “Game-Changer” – Polish President
Earlier this week, the Russians stated, and then immediately echoed by the Chinese, the false allegation with no proof that Ukraine was running chemical and biological weapons labs with U.S. support.
The U.N. said that there was no proof to support such an allegation.
Washington immediately blasted the allegation as “preposterous” and said it was probably an attempt by Russia to lay the groundwork for its own use of such weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against Ukraine.
“This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to justify its further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Wednesday.
“Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them.”
Polish President Andrzej Duda issued a subtle warning on Sunday when he told the BBC that if Russian President Vladimir Putin uses any weapons of mass destruction, it would be a “game-changer” and NATO would have to think seriously about what to do.
“Of course, everybody hopes that he will not dare do that, that he will not use weapons of mass destruction, neither chemical weapons nor biological weapons, nor any form of nuclear weapons,” he said during the interview. Everybody is hoping that this is not going to happen.”
“But, as we say in Poland, using a little bit of an English expression, if he uses any weapons of mass destruction then this will be a game-changer in the whole thing,” he added.
The Russians have used chemical weapons like nerve agents in assassination attempts against opponents of President Vladimir Putin both at home and abroad.
Sergei Skripal, a former KGB agent who defected to the UK, was poisoned along with his daughter on a park bench in Britain. And Alexei Navalny who opposed Putin in an election was poisoned on an airplane. In both cases the poison was Novichok.
The Russians continued biological weapons production in 1972 when the then-USSR signed the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The agreement prevents a state from having and using biological arms.
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for more than 10 years and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.