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French national killed in LPR was not journalist but mercenary, says LPR officer

Andrey Marochko noted that the French national could be engaged in delivering weapons and munitions to the positions of Ukraine’s armed units

LUGANSK, May 30. /TASS/. The French national, who was killed on Monday on the Kiev-controlled territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), unlikely was a journalist but could be engaged in delivering munitions to the positions of the Ukrainian armed forces, Andrey Marochko, an officer of the LPR People’s Militia, told TASS on Monday.

"He is presented not only as a journalist. Even the Ukrainian media say that he was a volunteer. So, we don’t rule out that he was engaged in delivering weapons and munitions to the positions of Ukraine’s armed units. That is why he was doomed to such a sad end. I wouldn’t call him a journalist because his actions indicated quite a different line of activity. It is quite possible to call him a foreign mercenary. And it is absolutely clear that he was an accessory to Ukrainian far-right radical forces. We have seen that such volunteers help Ukrainian troops - they deliver munitions that are used to kill civilians," he said.

According to Marochko, the LPR People’s Militia warned on May 27 that LPR forces would target civil cars Ukraine would use for military purposes. "The Ukrainian army is using prohibited warfare methods. We have repeatedly reported that Ukrainian armed units and far-right radicals are using civil transport for their military needs. First of all, Ukrainian militants reportedly use ambulance cars to transport munitions and food for the armed forces, which is banned by absolutely all international rules. We also see that they now use civil transport for their movements," he stressed.

Earlier on Monday, Ukraine’s media reported the death of a French national who allegedly was a journalist and was on his way to evacuate ten people from Kiev-controlled territories. It was reason for the suspension of the evacuation of civilians, they claimed.

Marochko said that Ukraine stopped evacuation when LPR forces took control of the roads to Lisichanks and Severodonetsk. "Now, they are seeking to picture this incident to stir up the international community, present us in the wrong light and accuse of killing journalists. But I would like to stress that this is not so. They really use civilians as a human shield. And even when they evacuated civilians, they evacuated them along with wounded Ukrainian militants," he added.

Meanwhile, France’s President Emmanuel Macron confirmed the death of the French journalist in Donbass.

"I share the pain of journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff’s loved ones and colleagues," Macron wrote on his Twitter account on Monday, noting that the reporter was covering the events in Ukraine.

BFM TV reported that the 32-year-old journalist worked as a camera man for the French television channel. This was his second trip to the zone of combat actions. According to the report, the journalist was in an armored vehicle and was killed when a shell exploded.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna has called for an investigation into the circumstances of the journalist’s death in Donbass.