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repatriation Family of Irish journalist Pierre Zakrzewski killed in Ukraine say ‘he has to come to Dublin’

In the same attack Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova was also killed while American broadcaster Benjamin Hall was seriously wounded

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Pierre Zakrzewski (left). Photo: Fox News

Pierre Zakrzewski (left). Photo: Fox News

Pierre Zakrzewski (left). Photo: Fox News

The family of Irish photojournalist Pierre Zakrzewski, who was killed in Ukraine this week, are anxiously awaiting updates on the mission to bring their beloved son and brother home for burial.

Mr Zakrzewski’s mother, Marie-Ange Zakrzewska, told the Irish Independent it was hoped her son’s remains would be taken out of Kyiv yesterday and the family are still waiting for confirmation.

Mr Zakrzewski was killed on Monday by Russian shelling outside Kyiv.

During the same attack, Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova was also killed while American broadcaster Benjamin Hall was seriously wounded.

Mr Zakrzewski’s mother said her son’s former employers, Fox and Sky News, are working with Irish officials and officials from France and Poland to fly him back to Ireland.

She said the first step is to bring Mr Zakrzewski’s remains to Krakow in Poland and from there to Dublin.

Ms Zakrzewska said the multi-agency team which is working to “bring Pierre home” has not indicated how they will transport her son’s body from Ukraine to Poland, given how complex the situation is in Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Mr Zakrzewski’s widow Michelle travelled to Poland to link up with some of Pierre’s family there and to assist with the repatriation effort.

Ms Zakrzewska said the family are “hoping for the best” and the situation in the Ukrainian capital is not as bad as in other cities.

“At least Kyiv is not totally surrounded, so the siege wouldn’t stop them from taking him out,” she said.

“The people who were working with him, they want to get him out so if everything goes according to plan – he should be out tonight or maybe tomorrow (Saturday).

“Then in Krakow for a day or two and then back to Dublin directly.”

Pierre Zakrzewski (55) was born in Paris to a French mother and a Polish father.

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He grew up in the Leopardstown area of Dublin and attended school in St Conleth’s College. He later studied at UCD and Ballyfermot College of Further Education.

He lived in London for the last 15 years with his wife Michelle, who worked as a journalist for the BBC.

Mr Zakrzewski’s mother said it was always their intention to bring his body home to Dublin, and his wife was in complete agreement.

“I’m very happy because Michelle has always said, ‘no, no he’s coming home’. There was no doubt about that. He has to come and that’s what has to happen,” she added.

Ms Zakrzewska said when her son’s body arrives home safely they plan to hold a funeral mass for him in south Dublin.

She said there is a family burial plot in Co Kildare and they will bring some of his ashes there, so he can be buried with his father Andrzej.

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