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Russian Soldier Pleads Guilty To Shooting Civilian In Ukraine’s First War Crime Trial

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Russian Soldier Pleads Guilty To Shooting Civilian In Ukraine’s First War Crime Trial

The Russian solider accused of killing an unarmed Ukrainian civilian has pleaded guilty in the first war crime trial since Russia invaded the country.

Vadim Shishimarin appeared in a Kyiv district court where he was accused of shooting dead a 62-year-old civilian on 28 February, four days after Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine.

The 21-year-old Russian tank commander is accused of killing the unarmed man in the northeast village of Chupakhivka by shooting him in the head with an AK-47 rifle.

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Vadim Shysimarin pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed Ukrainian civilian. Credit: Iryna Venediktova/Facebook
Vadim Shysimarin pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed Ukrainian civilian. Credit: Iryna Venediktova/Facebook

After his military vehicle convoy was attacked by Ukrainian forces, Shishimarin is said to have driven his car away with four other soldiers before being ordered to 'kill a civilian so he would not report them to Ukrainian defenders'.

Prosecutors said the victim had been walking with his bike and talking on the phone when he was shot, dying 'on the spot a few dozen metres from his home'.

When asked in court if he was guilty of allegations including war crimes and premeditated murder, Shishimarin replied 'yes'. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

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BBC Eastern Europe Correspondent Sarah Rainsford tweeted an image of the young soldier at his hearing today, May 18, writing: "Vadim Shishimarin has been brought to court for the start of his trial – accused of shooting a 62 year old civilian. The victim’s widow, sitting on the other side of the glass cage, wiped away tears as the Russian soldier was led in in handcuffs."

The case marks one of many war crime accusations that have been filed or are ready to be submitted by the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general, led by Iryna Venediktova, which has registered more than 10,700 crimes since Putin's forces invaded on 24 February.

The Guardian has hailed the trial as a ‘watershed moment’ while pointing to Unicef figures that report at least 100 children were killed amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in April alone. 

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Speaking after Shishimarin's initial hearing, Ukrainian state prosecutor Andriy Synyuk told Reuters: "This is the first case today. But soon there will be a lot of these cases."

Other planned trials may unfold in the coming weeks, including those of two Russian soldiers who allegedly carried out artillery shelling of homes and civilian buildings in a village in Kharkiv district.

Another involves a soldier named as Mikhail Romanov, who is accused of breaking into a house in the Brovarsky region, murdering a man and then raping his wife.

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If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Featured Image Credit: Iryna Venediktova/Facebook/Alamy

Topics: News, Ukraine, Russia, World News

Daisy Phillipson
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