Ukrainian journalist ‘coldly executed’ by Russian forces: Report | Russia-Ukraine war News

Reporters With out Borders says proof suggests Maks Levin was killed by bullets fired at shut vary whereas he was already on the bottom.

A Ukrainian photojournalist and a soldier accompanying him who have been killed within the first weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seem to have been “coldly executed” by Russian troops, Reporters With out Borders has concluded following an investigation into the killings.

The our bodies of Maks Levin and serviceman Oleksiy Chernyshov have been discovered on April 1 in a forest close to Huta-Mezhyhirska, a village 30km (19 miles) north of the capital, Kyiv. The press freedom group speculated that Levin could have been looking Russian-occupied woodlands for his lacking image-taking drone.

Reporters With out Borders mentioned the journalist was carrying a blue armband much like these worn by Ukrainian troopers. He had from time to time shared info gleaned from his drone, together with about Russian positions, with Ukrainian forces.

“However using his drone was at the start a journalistic endeavour, confirmed by his entourage and proven by the photographs offered to the media because the begin of the Russian invasion,” the press freedom group mentioned in a report (PDF) printed on Wednesday.

Levin and Chernyshov have been final heard from on March 13. A GPS tracker of their car gave their final place, in woods north of Kyiv. The 40-year-old photographer misplaced his drone within the space on March 10 and had not been capable of get better it due to Russian fireplace.

Reporters With out Borders counted 14 bullet holes within the burned hulk of their automobile, which had been set on fireplace. Levin’s physique was mendacity on its again with no burn marks. Three bullet impacts have been seen, one within the chest and two within the head.

A Ukrainian crew with metallic detectors additionally uncovered a bullet buried within the soil the place Levin’s physique had lain. “He was most likely killed with one, maybe two bullets fired at shut vary when he was already on the bottom,” the report mentioned.

Disused Russian positions, one in all them nonetheless booby-trapped, have been discovered shut by, in addition to a jerrycan for petrol, the stays of meals rations, cigarette packets and different litter seemingly left by Russian troopers.

A few of Levin and Chernyshov’s belongings, together with the soldier’s ID papers and components of his bulletproof vest and the photographer’s helmet, have been additionally recovered.

This quantities to materials proof of “Russian presence very near the crime scene,” the group mentioned in its report, including that the findings “present that the 2 males have been probably coldly executed”.

Prosecuting crimes towards the media

Ukrainian judicial authorities and the Worldwide Prison Courtroom are investigating the deaths of journalists reporting on the Russian invasion.

A minimum of 110 media retailers have been compelled to cease or droop operations and 32 journalists have been killed because the begin of the battle on February 24, Ukrainian authorities mentioned.

The proof collected by Reporters With out Borders as a part of its investigation, which includes dozens of pictures taken when the crime scene was found, has been handed to Ukrainian investigators. The group mentioned it was unable to substantiate whether or not the lads’s our bodies have been autopsied – a step it referred to as important for the investigation into their deaths.

The group recognized the Russian Guard’s 106th airborne division or a particular forces unit because the probably wrongdoer for the killings, however referred to as on Ukrainian defence and intelligence companies to offer investigators with details about Russian items that had occupied the realm throughout Moscow’s failed assault on Kyiv.

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