French journalist killed by Russians near Bakhmut was a footballer of a famous club
On May 14, the Rennes stadium honoured the memory of AFP News journalist Arman Soldin, who died last week in Ukraine, not far from Bakhmut. It turned out that as a teenager, Arman defended the colours of a football club from western France and remained a fan of the club into adulthood.
Soldin was born in Sarajevo, but when he was one year old, his family had to flee Bosnia and Herzegovina to escape the war. Arman and his family found a new home in France. The future journalist played for Rennes' U-13 and U-15 teams in 2006-2008, remaining in the memory of his mentors and colleagues as a brilliant student and a great football fan.
Soldin was killed on May 9 as a result of a missile attack by the Russian occupiers near the village of Chasiv Yar, located 13 kilometres from Bakhmut. And Rennes employees decided to remember their former player during the match of the 35th round of the French championship with Troyes (4:0).
Before the match, the Red and Black fans paid tribute to Soldin with a minute of silence and applause. Rennes invited 30 friends and relatives of the journalist, including Arman's sister, who lives in Bosnia, to the game.
"With courage and determination, he never stopped informing as many people as possible about the realities of the war. He is a passionate footballer and a loyal fan of the Red and Blacks," ouest-france.fr quoted the stadium announcer as saying.
According to Ouest-France, Armand has never stopped playing football. When he joined the AFP office in Rome as an intern in 2015, he joined colleagues who met once a week on the pitch and also played with migrants from Libya while reporting on their lives on the Italian island of Lampedusa.
After moving to the AFP office in London, Soldin also became a sports correspondent for Canal+.
And even in England, Arman retained a special affection for Rennes. On his Twitter account, there is a video dated September 2021, where the journalist is in the press box at Tottenham Stadium, looking at the field with one eye and watching the match between Marseille and Rennes on his tablet with the other.
When Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, Armand volunteered to be one of the first journalists to be based in Kyiv for Agence France-Presse. He was later replaced against his wishes, but returned to Ukraine in September 2022, working as a video coordinator.
In Kherson in December 2022, Soldin produced a video for AFP of the perilous rescue of Ukrainians stranded on islands in the Dnipro River after Russian troops retreated to the left bank. His reports in January 2023 showed an intense Russian offensive on Soledar and Vuhledar.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL reported that a well-known rower who served in the intelligence service was killed near Bakhmut.
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