Family of Fox News journalist killed in Ukraine say he was "so proud of being Irish"
Two of Pierre Zakrzewski's brothers have spoken about his early life growing up in Dublin.
The family of Irish citizen and journalist Pierre Zakrzewski, who was killed while reporting on Russia's invasion of Ukraine for Fox News, have said he was "so proud of being Irish".
The 55-year-old cameraman (pictured above on the left) was killed on Monday in Horenka outside of Kyiv while news gathering when his vehicle was struck with incoming fire.
Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshinova was also killed in the attack, while Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall was injured.
Pierre's brothers Greg and Nick appeared on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne to speak about him on Wednesday.
The pair told the show that since Pierre's death, they have been on "autopilot" and have not yet "processed anything" but that their thoughts are with Oleksandra's family, as well as Benjamin.
They also discussed their brother's early life growing up in Leopardstown in Dublin with a French mother and Polish father.
Nick said that of the four brothers in the family, Pierre is the only one who was not born in Dublin as he was born prematurely by two months while his mother was staying in Paris.
"We all grew up here, up in Leopardstown," he said.
"We all went to school here, went to college here."
Asked if he always wanted to be a cameraman, Nick explained his brother's career began out of a love for travel.
“Initially, it was driven by travel. He had a real love for photography, which then evolved into videography," he said.
"It was that combination of travel and photography, videography, which then evolved into getting into photojournalism."
"After college, he left and just travelled, travelled and travelled and on his own a lot."
Greg then said that Pierre's first 10 to 12 years as a journalist were as a freelancer.
“All those years he would have been going often on his own.
"He was shooting this stuff in... post ’89 in Afghanistan when the Mujahideen were fighting between themselves and he was going in there finding out who you talk to, to get to the head guy of the tribal head."
Greg also explained why Pierre moved from freelancing to working for Fox News.
"All the time, there's this constant pattern of media crews being attacked, okay, and being seen as fair game in wartime," he said.
“Increasingly it’s becoming very difficult for freelance guys to protect themselves.
“So, I think my brother saw that happening and also saw changes in media where it was harder and harder to get projects up off the ground as a freelancer.
"So, he switched to Fox and I’d say he probably had a bit of mixed feelings about that. He was losing a certain amount of independence.
"Now we never spoke about it, but I suspect he would probably say something along the lines of: ‘Listen, I’d no choice’.”
Nick told the show his brother was "not at all" reckless, describing him as a "calculated risk-taker".
"He looked at risks. He worked out the best way of managing them," he added.
However, Greg later said Pierre had become concerned covering events in Ukraine given that there was no frontline in the country and because civilians were being targeted.
"He always said that that was the dodgiest scenario to be in," he stated.
"I was talking to a pal of his from school... who spoke to him at the weekend and [they] said he just sounded nervous."
Byrne also recounted how she had heard that Pierre would approach a barricade or meet with security and say: "My name is Pierre Zakrzewski and I'm Irish."
"He was so proud of being Irish and he was so proud of the access and the view worldwide of the Irish," Nick said in response.
"It’s a real positive thing."
Greg also said that being Irish was a "very important part" of Pierre's "moral makeup".
"The fact that we come from this small island with a fairly flat kind of social structure and that we have this kind of post-colonial past which is fairly recent," he explained.
"I just think Irish people get that stuff in general to an extent that maybe people from the UK and the US don't."
Nick said Pierre's 11 nephews and nieces looked up to and adored him.
"He's a free spirit. I think that's the thing that is so attractive," Greg added, before saying that Pierre would want to be remembered as a "truth-teller".
“He was kind of no-nonsense... he was very good at his job and he took it very seriously," he explained.
"He was a very hard worker."
Nick then added: “He wants to be remembered for the images that he created that he got out there."
"Without those images, people wouldn’t be seeing what’s actually going on.
"That's ultimately, I think, what he really wanted to be remembered for."
Main image via Fox News