A smell of burning lingers in Moshchun, a village 20 km north of Kyiv that was heavily bombarded in early March, when the Russian tried to take the Ukrainian capital. Half of the houses were destroyed, the ground is still strewn with the debris of armoured vehicles and the few residents who stayed in the village during the occupation are still traumatised.

Ukrainian journalist was executed

It was in the forest near the village that the bodies of Levin and his friend, the soldier Oleksiy Chernyshov, were found on 1 April. The two men had been killed on 13 March.

Several items with possible DNA traces attesting to the presence of Russian soldiers very close to the spot where Levin and Chernyshov were killed were also identified by RSF and some of them were taken. In a final search phase initiated by RSF, metal detectors located a bullet that had probably struck Levin.

"Despite the risks, Maks went into this forest to try to recover his drone, to recover proof in the form of images. His execution by Russian soldiers was a crime against freedom of expression," said photoreporter Patrick Chauvel.