A Ukrainian photojournalist who was killed in the early days of the Russia-Ukraine war was likely “executed in cold blood” by Russian troops in the area, according to a journalism group that was tasked with investigating his death. 

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans Frontières), a French journalism group, was tasked to investigate the deaths of photojournalist Maksim Levin as well as his soldier friend Oleksiy Chernyshov, who were both found dead in a forest in Kyiv on April 1, according to the New York Post

The investigation from the group, including examining evidence that was found at the scene, which included bullets and a burnt-out car of Levin, helped them conclude that Levin and Chernyshov were both tortured and killed by Russian troops in the area on March 13, the Guardian reported. 

“The evidence against the Russian forces is overwhelming,” the group said in a statement, before elaborating that the two “were executed in cold blood by Russian forces, probably after being interrogated and tortured, on the day they went missing.”

The evidence found in the case has been handed over to Ukrainian authorities. Reporters Without Borders plans to file a complaint to the Hague’s International Criminal Court against Russia for the death of Levin, which would be the sixth complaint filed against Russia on matters related to their invasion of Ukraine. 

Levin is one of at least eight journalists killed during the Russia-Ukraine war. The Russian foreign ministry has yet to respond regarding the accusations levied against its armies regarding the human rights violations in Ukraine. 

A known documentary filmmaker who sometimes contributed Ukrainian-specific content and coverage to Reuters since 2013, many in the journalism world joined his family and friends in grieving for his untimely death. 

“His death is a huge loss to the world of journalism. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time,” Reuters’ global managing editor for visuals John Pullman said at the time of his death.

noah-eleazar-EZbOfaa76JE-unsplash A Ukrainian photojournalist who was killed early on during the Russia-Ukraine war was reportedly tortured and killed by Russian soldiers, according to an investigation by a journalists' rights group. This is a representational image. noah eleazar/Unsplash.