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Ukrainian journalist Maks Levin ‘was executed in cold blood’, report says

Levin, a Ukrainian photojournalist who has worked with a number of major Western media including Reuters and the BBC, disappeared on March 13 while covering Russia’s assault on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. His body was discovered on April 1.

RSF said it sent two investigators to Ukraine from May 24 to June 3 and concluded that Levin, and a friend he was with, “were executed in cold blood”.

“The evidence against Russian forces is overwhelming,” the NGO said in a summary.

The organization said it found several bullets and casings at the scene, the identification papers of the friend and soldier who accompanied Levin, and identified 14 bullet holes in the car they were traveling in. RSF also said it found several objects with possible DNA. evidence, attesting to the presence of Russian soldiers near the crime scene and, above all, locating a bullet right next to where Levin’s body was found.

“The analysis of the photos of the crime scene, the observations made on the spot and the material evidence recovered clearly indicate an execution which may have been preceded by interrogations, or even by acts of torture”, declared the secretary general of RSF , Christophe Delore, about the report. “In the context of a war heavily marked by propaganda and Kremlin censorship, Maks Levin and his friend paid with their lives for their fight for reliable information.”

RSF said it submitted its findings and all the evidence to Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office.

On April 2, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said the journalist’s body was found in Vyshgorod district, just north of Kyiv, adding that “soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces killed Maksym Levin unarmed with two shots”.

Russia has consistently denied targeting civilians, including journalists, since it began its invasion of Ukraine, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

CNN was unable to independently verify RSF’s findings.

Levin began working as a photojournalist in 2006, according to his biography on LensCulture, a photography resource website. He worked for Ukrainian news outlet and was “well known” in his field, having worked with Reuters, BBC, TRT World and Associated Press, according to the attorney general’s office.

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