How Ukrainian journalist Maks Levin was executed by Russian forces

Arnaud Froger, Patrick Chauvel, Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) gathered the evidence on which this report is based in the course of the investigation it carried out in Ukraine from 24 May to 3 June 2022. RSF handed over the evidence to the Ukrainian judicial authorities and will also provide them with a copy of this report. The evidence gathered by RSF indicates that the Ukrainian photo-journalist Maks Levin and the friend who was with him were executed in cold blood by Russian forces, probably after being interrogated and tortured, on the day they went missing, 13 March 2022. Levin’s body and car were found on 1 April in a forest located on what was the front line north of Kyiv.

The report’s highlights:

  • The photos of the crime scene, the evidence RSF found there and RSF’s observations attest to the fact that the journalist Maks Levin and his friend Oleksiy Chernyshov were executed.
  • Levin was very probably shot by one of the bullets that RSF found at the crime scene.
  • Material evidence was found of a Russian presence very close to the crime scene including food package, plastic cutlery which could still contain DNA traces.
  • Those responsible for murdering Levin and Chernyshov may have been members of the Russian Guard’s 106th airborne division or a special forces unit.
  • RSF was interviewed by members of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) who are in charge of the Ukrainian investigation into this double murder.
  • RSF provided the Ukrainian investigators with several dozen photos and nine pieces of evidence, including three bullets, Chernyshov’s identity documents, and items left by Russian soldiers found near the crime scene.