An investigation has found that a renowned Ukrainian journalist was executed in cold blood by Russian forces shortly after the invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of February 2022.

Maks Levin, who had worked with media outlets such as the Associated Press, Reuters and the BBC was captured near Kyiv and his body later found after the humiliating Russian retreat. His body was found alongside that of Oleksiy Chernyshov, a friend of Levin and a member of the Ukrainian military.

The report carried out by Reporters Without Borders has said that he was executed and not caught in crossfire or mistaken for a member of the military. The report also stated that they are unsure if the journalist was interrogated prior to his execution. At the time of the killing Levin was wearing a blue jacket marked ‘Press’.

The car they pair were driving in was burned out but had been riddled with bullets. Levin had been shot once in the chest and twice in the head.

Christophe Deloire, the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders said in a statement:

“Analysis of the photos of the crime scene, the observations made on the spot and the material evidence recovered clearly point to an execution that may have been preceded by interrogation or even acts of torture. 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. We owe them the truth. And we will fight to identify and find those who executed them.”

The investigation took place between the 24th of May and the 3rd of June and investigators are said to have collected DNA samples from around the scene that may be used in future war-crimes trials.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland commented on the findings, saying:

“There is no hiding place for war criminals. The U.S. Justice Department will pursue every avenue of accountability for those who commit war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine.”

The war in Ukraine is now in its fourth month with Russians focusing their attack on the east of the country in the Donbass region made up of the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, which Russian claim are independent states.

[Based on reporting by: The Daily Beast]

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