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Life sentence: Russian sentenced in first war crimes trial in Kyiv

Life sentence: Russian sentenced in first war crimes trial in Kyiv

In Ukraine, the court case against First Lieutenant Vadim Shishimarin (21) ended with a guilty verdict. International attention was great: for the first time since the start of the Ukraine war, a Russian soldier was on trial. The soldier shot an unarmed civilian.

Rene Rabeder
23 May 2022 12:22

On February 28, shortly after the invasion began, Shishimarin shot an elderly civilian (62) in the head through an open car window in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka.

There is a risk of up to 15 years in prison

The accused is 21 years young and was a member of an armored division. If found guilty, he faces up to 15 years in prison, according to Ukrainian Attorney General Iryna Venediktova on Facebook. With the help of foreign experts, prosecutors are investigating further allegations against Russian troops that they may have killed, tortured and ill-treated thousands of Ukrainian civilians.

Short first session, great media interest

Scores of journalists and cameramen crowded the small courtroom of the Solomianskyi District Court on Friday, where Shishimarin seated himself behind a glass-enclosed room – wearing a blue and gray hoodie, sweatpants and a shaved head, eyes downcast. According to a spokesman for Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office, the hearing was a “preparatory session”.

Killed while fleeing the fighting

Shishimarin is said to have killed the unarmed civilian with several shots from his Kalashnikov rifle. The Ukrainian has just pushed a bicycle along the roadside in the village of Chupakhivka. According to Venediktova’s tweet, Shishimarin and four other soldiers have just fled the fighting in the Sumy region in a stolen car. “One of the soldiers ordered the sergeant to kill the civilian lest he report them to the Ukrainian defenders,” the statement said. “The man died on the spot, just a few tens of meters from his home.”

In a video released by the Ukrainian security service, Shishimarin admitted to the crime he was ordered to do. He is represented by Ukrainian lawyer Victor Ovsyanikov, appointed by the court. “It’s very important to make sure my client’s human rights are protected, to show that we’re a different country than where he comes from,” Ovsyanikov told the New York Times.

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