Russian forces have “coldly executed” Ukrainian photoreporter Maks Levin and his companion Oleksiy Chernyshov, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which published a report on Wednesday 22 June. The international organization has sent evidence to the Ukrainian courts, which was collected as part of an RSF fact-finding mission to Ukraine from May 24 to June 3.

The bodies of Maks Levin and Oleksiy Chernyshov were found on April 1, three weeks after their disappearance. They were in a forest near the village of Gouta Mejyguirska, a few dozen kilometers north of kyiv. Reporters Without Borders collected “several dozen photos and nine physical evidence, including three bullets” who “attest” that they were executed and asserts with less certainty that they “were likely interrogated and tortured by Russian forces on the day of their disappearance, March 13, 2022”.

>> War in Ukraine: in Russia, information under control

According to RSF, the body of Mask Levin has been found “while lying on your back” with “three visible bullet holes, one on his chest and two on his head”. The 40-year-old journalist did not show any signs of burns, unlike his companion and friend Oleksiy Chernyshov. He was “Lying face down, near the car on the side of the open door. He was largely burned”. In its report RSF specifies that several elements suggest that he was burned alive and that Mask Levin “was probably shot down by one or two bullets fired at close range when he was already on the ground”.

Reporters Without Borders indicates that “the perpetrators of these murders could belong to the 106th Airborne Division of the Russian Guards or to a special forces unit”. The organization claims to have “material evidence of the Russian presence in the immediate vicinity of the crime scene”.

He documented the consequences of the Russian invasion

This report was co-written by photoreporter Patrick Chauvel and Arnaud Froger, RSF’s head of investigation. The latter was heard on June 1, as a witness by the Ukrainian intelligence services (SBU) in charge of the investigation. Maks Levin notably worked for the Reuters news agency. “He had helped document the consequences of the Russian invasion by selling photos and images taken with his drone”explains RSF.

On May 30, Frenchman Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff was the eighth journalist killed in Ukraine.

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