Ukrainian photographer missing from Kyiv frontline fears abduction | Ukraine
The disappearance of a photojournalist who was reporting from a front line near kyiv more than a week ago has fueled growing concerns about the dangers facing Ukrainian journalists covering Russia’s invasion of their country. .
Maks Levin has been without news since March 13, when he was reporting from the Vishgorod district, north of Kyiv, where he captured both the fighters and fleeing civilians, according to fellow Ukrainian photographer Markiian Lyseiko. .
Levin’s phone has been out of service since he sent his last message that morning, when he was arrested while traveling between villages, Lyseiko wrote on Facebook, adding that he believes Levin has may have been wounded or captured by Russian forces during heavy fighting that day.
Levin’s disappearance prompted public calls for information from fellow Ukrainian journalists.
“Our good friend, talented war photojournalist Maks Levin, is missing. He had another field day in a combat zone outside Kyiv on March 13. Since then, no one has had contact with him. If you follow this war, you have certainly seen many of his works,” tweeted Illia Ponomarenkoadvocacy reporter for the Kyiv Independent.
Press freedom groups say Levin is not the first Ukrainian journalist to go missing.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said two other journalists, Oleh Baturyn and Viktoria Roshchina, had previously disappeared but have since been freed by their captors, who are believed to be from the Russian armed forces.
“Far too many journalists have disappeared covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and all parties to the conflict should ensure that the press can work safely and without fear of kidnapping,” said said Gulnoza Said, coordinator of CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program.
In a Facebook post by his sister, who did not identify his abductor, Baturyn said he had been without water, soap and clean clothes for days.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said targeting journalists was a war crime and three other journalists had been kidnapped since the invasion.
A journalist, who had helped foreign media, was beaten, electrocuted and subjected to a mock execution while detained for nine days.
RSF said it would refer the case of Nikita, whose name has been changed for her safety, to the International Criminal Court’s war crimes investigation.
“Nikita gives us chilling testimony which confirms the intensity of the war crimes perpetrated by the Russian army against journalists,” said the group’s general secretary, Christophe Deloire. “Transmitting his testimony to the ICC prosecutor is the least we can do for this brave young repairman.
Three reporters were killed during the conflict: Brent Renaud, an American filmmaker, Irish cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova. TV news crews described being shot even when they identified themselves as journalists, suggesting they had been targeted on purpose.
On Monday, Mstyslav Chernov, a Ukrainian videographer for The Associated Press, published a chilling account of his experience as one of the last international journalists in the besieged city of Mariupol, where he said Russian troops tried to locate it.
“Impunity is the second objective. With no information from a city, images of demolished buildings and dying children, the Russian forces could do whatever they wanted. Without us, there would be nothing.
“That’s why we took such risks so we could send what we saw to the world, and that’s what made Russia angry enough to hunt us down,” he wrote.