Report concludes that Ukrainian journalist, soldier killed by Russian forces in March

“The two men were doubtless coldly executed” according to reporters without borders

Updated: June 22, 2022 - 11:46am

Investigators with Reporters Without Borders have found that Russian forces executed a Ukrainian journalist and soldier who were traveling together just weeks into the war. 

The bodies of Ukrainian Journalist Maks Levin and his friend, soldier Oleksiy Chernyshov, were found April 1. They had last been heard from on March 13. 

The pair was thought to have to entered a remote, wooded area north of Kyiv that was occupied by Russian troops to recover Levin’s drone, which had been lost in the area on March 10.

Levin had used his drone to photograph Russian positions. The photographs were primarily used for his own journalistic investigations but he did on occasion share images with Ukrainian forces, according to the report. 

“Maks went into this forest to try to recover his drone, to recover proof in the form of images. His execution by Russian soldiers was a crime against freedom of expression,"  said Patrick Chauvel, a co-author of the report. 

Also recovered at the scene were the soldier’s papers, bulletproof vest and a helmet belonging to Levin. The remains of Levin and Chernyshov's burned vehicle, which was riddled with 14 bullet holes, was also at the scene. 

The execution "may have been preceded by interrogation or even acts of torture" said Reporters Without Borders Secretary General Christophe Deloire.

Reporters Without Borders did not confirm whether it had already conducted an autopsy on the bodies. 

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