LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky took to social media on Monday in giving condolences in the death of U.S. journalist, filmmaker and Arkansas native Brent Renaud, who was killed Sunday in a Russian attack in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv.
“I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Brent Renaud who lost his life while documenting the ruthlessness & evil inflicted upon Ukrainian people by Russia,” Zelensky said in a tweet. “May Brent’s life & sacrifice inspire the world to stand up in fight for the forces of light against forces of darkness.”
The Tweet was accompanied by an open letter to Renaud’s family.
“It is with deep sadness that I am writing to extend my heartfelt condolences to you on the tragic loss of your beloved son and brother,” Zelensky wrote in the letter posted to Twitter on Monday. “A talented and brave journalist, Brent lost his life while documenting human tragedy, devastation and suffering of the millions of Ukrainians. With all his courage and determination, he traveled to the most dangerous war zones to film the unprecedented ruthlessness and evil, also inflicted upon our nation by the aggressor state.
“The people of Ukraine, who are fighting against the Russian regime to defend their homeland and democracy in the world, are mourning with you,” Zelensky continued. “We are thankful to Brent for his professionalism and commitment to the values of compassion, ethics and justice.
“May Brent’s life, service and sacrifice inspire generations of people all around the world to stand up in fight for the forces of light against forces of darkness,” he added.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson gave his statement on Sunday after the passing of Renaud.
“My heart is heavy at the passing of American journalist and Little Rock native Brent Renaud. He lost his life while covering the pure evil that is the invasion of Ukraine,” Hutchinson said in a tweet. ” An award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Brent made great contributions to the culture and arts of Arkansas. Susan and I are praying for Brent’s family and all those affected by his loss.”
Hutchinson wasn’t alone in condolences. Arkansas House Speaker Matthew Shephard also released a statement.
“Brent Renaud will be remembered not only as a talented filmmaker but as an Arkansan who continuously gave back to our state to create a new generation of artists,” Shephard wrote. “His life’s work stands as a testament of a free and open society, which is in stark contrast to the totalitarian forces whose unprovoked invasion he was documenting when his life was taken. I send my deepest sympathy to his family and the countless Arkansans who called him a friend.”
The condolences continued throughout the day Sunday with Sen. John Boozman echoing the Pride that Arkansans have felt through Renaud’s work and legacy.
“Brent Renaud was an inspiring, talented storyteller who lost his life in the process of helping show the world the destruction & human cost of Russia’s war on Ukraine,” Boozman said on Twitter. “We couldn’t be more proud that he was an Arkansan. I’m praying for all those who are grieving his tragic death.”
Sen. Tom Cotton also extended himself to Renaud’s family and became pointed in his thoughts to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions.
“Arkansans are saddened today at the death of Brent Renaud in Ukraine. I join them in expressing deepest condolences to the Renaud family,” Cotton said in a tweet. “And I reiterate to Vladimir Putin and his military leaders that the intentional targeting of innocent civilians, including reporters, is a war crime.”