Mother of Irish journalist Pierre Zakrzewski, who was killed in Ukraine has said that he is “following his passion”.
r Zakrzewski (55 years old) died after the vehicle he was traveling in while working for Fox News was allegedly hit by Russian fire.
He was a student at Saint Conleth’s College in Dublin 4 and has reported extensively on conflict areas, including Afghanistan and Syria.
Speaking to the Irish Independent from her family home in Dublin, Marie-Ange Zakrzewska said her son was proud to be Irish and he made sure everyone knew where he was from.
“He is name-defying, his mother is French and his father is Polish, he is 100pc Irish and he protests when people don’t believe him.
“He is definitely following his passion, and at first it was difficult because he was doing it on his own. He’s very good, and he has to be,” she said.
Ms. Zakrzewska said Pierre was born in Paris but grew up in Ireland. In his 20s, he started traveling.
“It was a typical Irish family,” she said, noting that her late son had two sisters and three brothers. His wife, Michelle, lives in the United Kingdom.
The family only learned of Pierre’s death on Tuesday afternoon, although it is understood he was killed on Monday.
Ms Zakrzewska said: “The only consolation is that both his owners, Sky News and Fox, they all talk about him precisely.
“He’s filming but he’s also doing all the other things and recently, he’s been in Afghanistan for two months, he’s been working to get the Afghans out of Afghanistan,” he said.
In a statement, Saint Conleth’s College said it learned of his death with “great sadness”, adding that Mr Zakrzewski studied in 1984.
Stephen O’Dea, who has been friends with Mr. Zakrzewski since he was a child, said he was well liked by his classmates and family.
“He was like a chameleon. You know, he has a Polish father and a French mother, a nice family, and he’s like an Irish guy but he can grow a beard and he can be a guy middle east, he can shave his mustache and is a cool guy. He’s a French guy but in the end he’s like ‘howya lads’, he’s an Irish guy and he’s a very skillful interpretive type,” he said.
Mr O’Dea said Pierre Zakrzewski will always be remembered as a “legend”.
“Legendary, it’s him. We would talk about everyone from the classroom or whatever and then you would say ‘Pierre’ and everyone would pause and go to ‘Pierre’ and it was like another level,” he told. RTÉ’s Nine O’clock.
Zakrzewski’s parents were of Polish and French descent but moved to Dublin, where they raised six children.
Fox News said he has been reporting from Ukraine since February.
A Ukrainian journalist, Oleksandra Kuvshynova, died in the same incident while American broadcaster Benjamin Hall was seriously injured.
An adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko blamed Russian shelling for the deaths of two journalists.
President Michael D Higgins this evening expressed his sympathies to Mr. Zakrzewski’s family.
“President Higgins extended his deepest sympathies to the family of Pierre Zakrzewski, an Irish journalist killed while covering the shelling outside Kyiv,” a statement said.
“The indiscriminate killing of civilians, including journalists, must be stopped.
“President Higgins expresses his sympathies to the International Federation of Journalists for the loss of a colleague.”
Speaking in Washington, Taoiseach Michael Martin described himself as “deeply worried and saddened” by the murder.
“My thoughts are with their family, friends and fellow journalists. We condemn this indiscriminate and immoral war by Russia against Ukraine,” Mr. Martin said.
“It was basically a horrifying attack on the press and we owe it to the press world for illuminating Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine,” he later told RTÉ.
“Some very brave journalists around the world are in Ukraine to show us and illustrategic what was going on and unfortunately, an Irish citizen, Pierre Zakrzewski lost his life in pursuit of a very noble service to humanity,” he said.
“We commend his courage in doing what he has done so many times before and his colleagues, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family in Ireland and we want them to know that we are in complete solidarity with them at this very dark time for them as a family in their personal loss. ”
“It more broadly reflects the humanitarian outrage caused by the leadership of Vladimir Putin towards the Ukrainian people; bombarding cities, on civilians in a deliberate and premeditated war is a war crime and there is no question about that”.
In a statement, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said: “We are deeply saddened and saddened to share the news this morning regarding our beloved cinematographer Pierre Zakrzewski. Pierre was killed in Horenka, a suburb of Kyiv, Ukraine.
“Pierre was with Benjamin Hall gathering information when their car caught on fire,
“Pierre is a war zone photographer who has covered nearly every international story for Fox News from Iraq, Afghanistan to Syria during his long career with us.
“His passion and talent for journalism is second to none. Based in London, Pierre has been working in Ukraine since February.
“His talent is fast and there’s no role he wouldn’t go in to help in the field – from photographer to engineer, editor to producer – and he’s done it. all under tremendous pressure with terrible skill.
Extremely worried and saddened by the death of Irish citizen and journalist Pierre Zakrzewski and one of his colleagues today.
My thoughts are with their family, friends and fellow journalists.
We condemn this indiscriminate and immoral Russian war on #Ukraine.
– Michael Martin (@MichealMartinTD) March 15, 2022
“He was deeply committed to talking about the shop and his bravery, professionalism and work ethic were well known among reporters in all media. He is extremely popular – everyone in the media who has covered a foreign story knows and respects Pierre.”
“We extend our deepest condolences to Pierre’s wife Michelle and family – please keep them all in your prayers.
“And please continue to pray for Benjamin Hall, who is still hospitalized in Ukraine. We will continue to be in touch with any updates as needed.”
Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney said he was “deeply saddened” by Mr Zakrzewski’s killing and that officials from his ministry were “in contact with his family and providing consular assistance”.
“The killing of all citizens in this reckless war is deplorable, and I also strongly condemn the targeting of journalists who worked so bravely to shed light on the circumstances,” Mr. Coveney said. of Ukraine since the outbreak of hostilities,” Coveney said.
“Ireland once again calls on Russia to end this war and we stand ready to support any initiative that can bring about peace. We will continue to demand accountability for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”
It is with great sadness that the University of St. Conleth witnessed the tragic passing of Past Student Pierre Zakrzewski (Class of 1984) in Ukraine. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. (Pierre stands in the back row in her graduating class, third from right.) pic.twitter.com/z1VNPzjhco
– Stconleths (@Saintconleths) March 15, 2022
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on Monday that Mr. Hall was in a serious condition.
He said they could have been “fired by mortars or artillery” from Russian troops as they were advancing towards the city of Irpin, 12 miles northwest of Kyiv.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova confirmed that a Western journalist is being cared for by Ukrainian doctors.
The 39-year-old is listed as a US State Department correspondent by Fox News.
The State Department Correspondents’ Association released a statement, saying it was “appalled” to learn that Mr. Hall had been injured.
“We know Ben for his warmth, humour, and professionalism. We wish Ben a speedy recovery,” said association president Shaun Tandon.
Longtime Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, an Irishman and experienced war photographer, was killed in a similar attack that seriously injured reporter Benjamin Hall, in Irpin just outside Kyiv. More horrifying news. Terrible. https://t.co/vJyV2F3Yvs
– Jane Ferguson (@JaneFerguson5) March 15, 2022
Mr. Hall joined Fox News in 2015 and has contributed to its coverage of foreign affairs, including from the front lines of several wars.
A dual US-British citizen, he completed both his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in London.
Another American journalist, Brent Renaud, was shot dead Sunday in Irpin. Two other journalists were injured.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/he-was-following-his-passion-devastated-mother-pays-tribute-to-irish-journalist-killed-in-ukraine-41450047.html Pierre Zakrzewski: ‘He followed his passion’ – devastated mother pays tribute to Irish journalist killed in Ukraine