RSF sent two investigators to collect evidence and search for clues from 24 May to 3 June: Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s investigation desk, and Patrick Chauvel, a French war photo-reporter who had worked with Levin in the Donbas at the end of February. They concluded that Levin and Chernyshov were executed in cold blood. The evidence against the Russian forces is overwhelming. It is detailed in a report published today entitled How Ukrainian journalist Maks Levin was executed by Russian forces. On the basis of the information and evidence they gathered, RSF’s investigators were able to reconstruct what happened.
Aged 40, Levin was an experienced freelancer who often collaborated with LB.ua, a respected Ukrainian news site, and with the news agency Reuters. When Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, he contacted a group of soldiers he had known since covering the conflict in the Donbas in 2014. He wanted to cover this war as closely as possible to those fighting it, and above all, to those being subjected to it.
On 10 March, Levin lost his drone in the forest near Moshchun while trying to get footage from Russia’s military invasion in the area. When he returned to these woods three days later, the Russians were already occupying part of the forest. The terrain was hostile but Levin was determined to recover his drone at all costs because he was convinced that the last images it had taken were very important. He did not succeed. [Continue reading…]