Paris, March 22, 2022 – Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ukrainian journalist Maks Levin should come forward at once, and Russian and Ukrainian security forces should ensure that journalists can cover the conflict safely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
On March 13, Levin, a freelance photojournalist and documentary filmmaker who has covered Russia’s invasions of Ukraine since 2014, went missing near the village of Huta-Mezhyhirska, in the Kyiv region, according to news reports and the journalist’s friend and colleague Markiian Lyseiko and ex-wife Inna Varenytsia, both of whom communicated with CPJ via messaging app.
CPJ has documented the cases of two other journalists who have gone missing while covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Oleh Baturyn and Viktoria Roshchina, both of whom have since been released.
“We are deeply concerned about the disappearance of Ukrainian journalist Maks Levin, and call on anyone with information on his whereabouts to come forward immediately,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Far too many journalists have gone missing while covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and all parties to the conflict should ensure that the press can work safely and without fear of abduction.”
On March 13, Levin drove to Huta-Mezhyhirska to cover clashes between Russian forces and Ukrainians, left his car there, and headed to the nearby village of Moshchun, according to those reports. He has not been seen since leaving Huta-Mezhyhirska, those reports said.
Varenytsia told CPJ that Ukrainian forces had granted Levin permission to report from that area. She said his phone last appeared online at 11:23 a.m. on the day of his disappearance.
Soldiers with the Russian 106th Airborne Division were fighting in the area at the time of Levin’s disappearance, Varenytsia told CPJ.
Levin has contributed to Reuters, the BBC, The Associated Press, and other international outlets, according to Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform.
CPJ emailed the Russian and Ukrainian Ministries of Defense for comment but did not receive any response.