Ukrainian photographer and friend were ‘executed in cold blood’ – report

Ukrainian photographer Maksim Levin was “executed in cold blood” alongside his friend Oleksiy Chernyshov by Russian forces north of Kyiv on 13 marzo, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a 16-page report on Wednesday.

"The evidence against the Russian forces is overwhelming,” the press freedom group said in an introduction to the report on its website.

Reuters could not independently verify the report’s conclusions. Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nato a 1981, Levin was a documentary film-maker who had occasionally contributed to Reuters coverage of the country since 2013. He went missing on 13 marzo, the day RSF says he was executed.

John Pullman, Reuters’ global managing editor for visuals, said of Levin in April: “His death is a huge loss to the world of journalism. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

RSF said it examined evidence at the scene that included bullets and Levin’s burnt-out car, as well as photos taken of Levin and Chernyshov’s bodies when they were discovered on 1 aprile.

The report said the position of Chernyshov’s body and other evidence indicated that he may have been burned alive, and Levin was likely killed by one or two gunshots from close range. It said a photo of his corpse showed three visible bullet impacts.

RSF gathered evidence from 24 Maggio a 3 giugno.

Ukrainian prosecutors say Levin was killed by two shots from small arms by members of Russia’s armed forces. Reuters was unable to independently verify this information.

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