Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin was convicted in the first trial of war crimes in Ukraine

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A 21-year-old Russian soldier was convicted on Monday of killing an unarmed civilian in the first war crimes trial in Ukraine since the Russian invasion. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Court in Kyiv issued the verdict after the sergeant. Vadim Shishimarin pleaded guilty last week to the murder of a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the northeastern Sumy region, but said he was carrying out orders. He was convicted of premeditated murder and a violation of the “rules and customs of war” under the Ukrainian Criminal Code.

Shchymarin admitted to shooting 62-year-old Oleksandr Shlypov, who was pushing his bike near the village of Chubakhivka, near the Russian border, during the early days of the invasion in late February.

Shlepov “died on the spot a few meters from his house,” according to the Ukrainian prosecutor, Irina Venediktova.

The charge of the Shishimarin, “violating the rules and customs of war”, was punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment. His lawyer told local reporters that he intended to appeal the ruling.

As the Solomiansky District Court in Kyiv prepares to issue its ruling, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia is “concerned” about Shishimarin and will consider its options to protect the soldier’s interests.

“Of course we are concerned about the fate of our compatriot,” Peskov said. Unfortunately, we are unable to defend his interests on Earth. This is due to the actual lack of operations of our enterprises [in Ukraine]. But this does not mean that we will stop thinking of ways to continue our efforts through other channels.”

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Shelpov’s widow said last week that she would like Shishimarin to be sentenced to life in prison but would be open to exchanging him for Ukrainian fighters. To the territories controlled by Russia From the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

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Shishimarin’s face turned blank and his eyes were broken during the hearing as he listened to his interpreter from behind the glass windows of the courtroom detention box.

Dressed in a blue and gray sweatshirt, the 21-year-old gazed only briefly when judge Sergei Agafonov announced his sentence. Then his lawyer approached Shishimarin and spoke to him through the glass, while the law enforcement officer was guarding.

Prosecutors argued that Shishimarin, a member of the Russian 4th Guards Tank Division Kantemirovskaya, committed a war crime when he fired several bullets from his rifle at Shlebov. Shishimarin said he was ordered by fellow soldiers to shoot Chelipov because he was talking on a mobile phone and they were afraid he would report their location after they fled a nearby battle in a stolen car.

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Shishimarin represented a lawyer appointed by the Ukrainian court, and said that the case against his client is strong. However, it was important to preserve Shishimarin’s human rights to show that Ukraine is “a different country from the country to which he belongs,” his lawyer, Viktor Ovsiannikov, Tell New York times.

Shishimarin said that he did not want to kill Chelipov and that he opened fire only because he ordered it. Reuters reported that Ovesyannikov said Shishimarin feared for his safety if he did not comply and that the shots he fired were aimless.

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“I personally believe that this young man should not be in the dock, but the top leadership of the other country that I think is guilty of waging this war,” Ovsianikov said, according to Reuters.

Ovsyanikov told reporters on Monday that he intends to appeal the judges’ decision, Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne News reported. “In order to apply to the European Court of Human Rights, we must first exhaust all means of appeal in national courts. In addition to the Court of Appeal, we also have a Court of Cassation. She said.

Throughout the invasion, Moscow struggled to manage the young and inexperienced forces Suffered from low spirits At times he seemed uncommitted to the cause.

A separate trial involving two Russian soldiers accused of war crimes in the alleged bombing of civilian targets in the northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region is still ongoing. Legal experts told the Washington Post that Ukraine, which is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, appears to be adhering to international guidelines on the prosecution of war crimes, including the accused’s right to a fair trial before an independent court.

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The Shlepov family He encountered Shishimarin last week while sitting in a glass defendant’s cell. “Tell me, please, how do you feel about my husband?” asked the soldier’s widow Shlepov. Shishimarin replied: “Yes, I confess my guilt. I understand that you will not be able to forgive me. I ask forgiveness for what happened.”

The widow, Katerina Shelipova, invoked Russian President Vladimir Putin’s baseless justifications for the war – that Moscow was saving Ukrainians from the “Nazis” – and asked the soldier: “What did you come to us for? You came to protect us? From whom? You protected me from my husband.” who killed him.”

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Steve Hendricks, David L. Stern, Mary Ilyushina, and Claire Parker contributed to this report.

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