Paris, April 2, 2022 — In response to news reports that Ukrainian photojournalist Maks Levin, who had been missing since March 13, was found dead, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement calling for accountability:
“We are deeply saddened by the news of photojournalist Maks Levin’s death in Ukraine while he was reporting on the war in the Kyiv region,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna, in New York. ”Levin is the sixth journalist known to have died covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine thus far. Ukrainian and Russian authorities must do everything in their power to investigate his death, ensure that those responsible are held accountable, and guarantee the safety of journalists covering the war from the ground.”
Levin’s death was announced today by the independent news website LB.ua, where he worked for more than a decade, and confirmed by presidential aide Andriy Yermak on Telegram. The outlet said police found Levin’s body on April 1 after a “long search” near the village of Huta-Mezhyhirska in the Vyshhorod district of the Kyiv region.
The Vyshhorod district prosecutor’s office announced in a statement that it is investigating Levin’s death for a potential violation of the laws and customs of war under Article 438 of the Ukraine criminal code. “According to preliminary information, unarmed Maks Levin was killed by soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces with two firearm shots. A pre-trial investigation is ongoing, and measures are being taken to establish all the circumstances of the crime,” according to the statement.
Levin has been missing since March 13, as CPJ documented at the time. On that day, Levin drove with Oleksiy Chernyshov, a serviceman and former photographer, to Huta-Mezhyhirska to cover clashes between Russian forces and Ukrainians.
Levin had left his car and was heading to the nearby village of Moshchun when he went missing, as CPJ documented. He had not been seen since leaving Huta-Mezhyhirsk, and Chernyshov’s whereabouts are still unknown, according to LB.ua’s statement.
Soldiers with the Russian 106th Airborne Division were fighting in the area at the time of Levin’s disappearance, Levin’s ex-wife Inna Varenytsia told CPJ by messaging app.
Levin was a freelance photojournalist and documentary filmmaker who had covered Russia’s invasions of Ukraine since 2014 and worked for various media outlets, including Reuters, the BBC, TRT World, and The Associated Press, according to LB.ua’s statement.
CPJ emailed the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries and the police of the Kyiv region for comment but did not receive any replies.
At least five other journalists have been killed covering the war since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February, according to CPJ research.
[Editors’ Note: A typo was fixed in the photo caption.]