Europe, Russia-Ukraine War

Ukrainian photojournalist Maks Levin and soldier 'executed' by Russian forces: Media watchdog

2 were interrogated, tortured by 106th Airborne Division of Russian Guard or a special forces unit, according to investigation report

Shweta Desai   | 22.06.2022
Ukrainian photojournalist Maks Levin and soldier 'executed' by Russian forces: Media watchdog

PARIS

Ukrainian photojournalist Maks Levin and serviceman Oleksiy Chernyshov were "executed" by Russian armed forces, an investigation by Reporters Without Borders concluded on Wednesday.

The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published a report investigating the death of Levin and his friend Chernyshov, a Ukrainian soldier, whose bodies were found on April 1, in Moshchun forests, 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Kyiv.

“The analysis of the photos of the crime scene, the observations made on the spot, and the material evidence recovered clearly point to an execution which may have been preceded by an interrogation or even acts of torture,” Christopher Deloire, the secretary-general of RSF said.

The village adjoining the forest was heavily bombarded by Russian forces to take over the Ukrainian capital at the start of the war on Feb 24. The RSF report said Levin and his companion were coldly executed, and likely interrogated or even tortured by Russian soldiers on March 13. The soldiers could belong to the 106th Airborne Division of the Russian Guard or a special forces unit, the report said.

A fact-finding team that carried out an investigation from May 24 to June 3, found several pieces of evidence of “material elements with possible DNA traces attesting to the presence of Russian soldiers,” including a bullet that most likely passed through the journalist in the Moshchun forests.

Other alleged evidence includes two bullets and identity documents of the Ukrainian soldier. The Russian soldiers who had occupied the village until April left booby traps and explosive devices in the forests.

Shortly after Moscow launched the war, Levin, a regular contributor to Ukrainian news site LB.ua and the Reuters news agency, reached out to Ukrainian soldiers to cover the conflict. He was using a drone over Moshchun to closely follow the actions of the Russian army. After losing the drone for three days, Levin entered the forests on March 13, and was reportedly killed along with Chernyshov.

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