Ukrainian photojournalist Maks Levin was found dead on April 1, 2022, according to a statement by the independent news website LB.ua, where he worked for more than a decade. His death was confirmed by presidential aide Andriy Yermak on Telegram.
Levin, a 40-year-old freelance photojournalist and documentary filmmaker, 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.
LB.ua 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.
Levin has been missing since March 13, 2022, as CPJ documented at the time. On that day, Levin drove with Oleksiy Chernyshov, a soldier 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. He had not been seen since leaving Huta-Mezhyhirsk, 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.
The Vyshhorod district prosecutor’s office announced in a statement on April 2, 2022, that it had launched an investigation into Levin’s killing for potential violations 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.
On April 3, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posthumously awarded Levin the country’s Order of Courage.
On June 22, 2022, global press freedom group Reporters Without Borders published an investigation suggesting that Levin and Chernyshov were executed by Russian soldiers on March 13. CPJ was unable to independently verify the information in that report.
CPJ emailed the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries and the police of the Kyiv region for comment but did not receive any replies.