Friends and colleagues of Arman Soldin, the AFP journalist killed last week in east Ukraine, gathered in Kyiv Monday to commemorate his empathy, spirit and dedication to journalism.

Soldin died 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.

Dozens, including senior AFP management and editors, gathered for an event hosted by news agency Ukrinform, where a large banner of Soldin, 32, hung showing him smiling and wearing a helmet and body armour.

AFP chairman Fabrice Fries, citing Arman's mother, described the slain video journalist as "all of humanity in one man," and noted he had been "adored" by friends, family and colleagues.

"Arman lost his life so millions of people could know what was happening in Ukraine. At a time when an inhumane war is ravaging Ukraine, the memory of who Arman (was) is our pride," Fries added.

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Agence France-Presse chairman and chief executive Fabrice Frize speaks next to a portrait of AFP journalist Armand Soldin, who died in Donbas while covering the conflict in Ukraine, during a commemoration ceremony in Kyiv, May 15, 2023. Soldin, the AFP's video coordinator in Ukraine, was killed on May 9, 2023, when an AFP team came under fire from Grad missiles while with a group of Ukrainian troops near Bakhmut, the epicenter of fighting for months.Serhii SUPINSKY / AFP

Phil Chetwynd, AFP's global news director, described Soldin as "integral" to the agency's news operations in Ukraine and credited him with helping to drive "superb" coverage.

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In response to Russia's armed aggression Ukraine, once the world's breadbasket, has had to focus more on reinforcing it military arsenal along with most countries in the West.

"There was nobody as brave, and as committed as Arman Soldin," Chetwynd said.

"The loss of Arman is so devastating for us, because he represented the very best of AFP," he added.

Born in Bosnia, Soldin is the third French reporter to lose his life since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022 and at least the 11th reporter, fixer or driver to have been killed, advocacy groups say.

Kyiv Post Editor-in Chief Bohdan Nahaylo speaking at the event.

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"Arman's dedication to his work, to tell the world the story of this terrible war was total," said Antoine Lambroschini, the AFP editor in charge of Ukraine coverage.

"Arman stood out in everything he did because he never lost sight of the fact that beyond the geopolitical implications of Russia's war against Ukraine, there are men, women, children, parents, and grandparents, brothers and sisters," Lambroschini added.

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