Three months after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, judges in Kyiv on Monday handed down the primary responsible verdict for a Russian soldier tried for warfare crimes.
Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, was convicted of capturing a 62-year-old civilian, Oleksandr Shelipov, within the northern area of Sumy within the first days of the warfare. Sergeant Shishimarin, who had pleaded responsible at the beginning of the trial final week, was sentenced to life in jail.
Judge Serhiy Ahafonov pronounced Sergeant Shishimarin responsible of violating the legal guidelines and customs of warfare and of committing premeditated homicide. The verdict may be appealed.
“The defendant admitted his guilt in part, arguing that he had no intention of killing Mr. Shelipov,” mentioned Judge Ahafonov. “The court cannot recognize the sincerity of repentance.”
The defendant sat in a glass cage, sporting the identical blue-and-gray hoodie he has worn for each trial look, his head bowed as an interpreter whispered to him in Russian via a gap within the glass. After the decision, because the court docket emptied of the a whole bunch of native and international journalists who gathered to listen to the sentencing, the sergeant paced backwards and forwards within the cell.
Sergeant Shishimarin was half of a 40-mile lengthy convoy of armored autos snaking from the Russian border towards Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, which Moscow initially anticipated it may take inside days.
According to prosecutors, Sergeant Shishimarin was commanding a tank division from the Moscow area. When his convoy got here beneath assault by Ukrainian forces on Feb. 28, the Russians dispersed. Sergeant Shishimarin met 4 different males, who stole a automotive and tried to drive away.
From the automotive, within the village of Chupahivka, they spied Mr. Shelipov, who was speaking on the telephone as he rode his bicycle. Believing that Mr. Shelipov would report their location to Ukrainian forces close by, one other soldier — who was not Sergeant Shishimarin’s superior — advised him to shoot, prosecutors mentioned.
Sergeant Shishimarin fired three or 4 photographs from his Kalashnikov.
When his trial started final week, Sergeant Shishimarin accepted his guilt. At a subsequent listening to, he apologized to Mr. Shelipov’s widow after she gave emotional testimony, asking him: “Did you come to defend us? From whom? Did you come to defend me from my husband that you killed?”
The verdict represents a milestone in Ukraine’s makes an attempt to carry Russia and its troopers accountable for atrocities dedicated within the warfare.
Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments
“Investigation of all war crimes and accountability is our main agenda now,” Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova wrote on Facebook final week. She introduced that two different instances had begun within the Poltava area in opposition to troopers who had shelled the Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv.
Experts mentioned the trial was one of the swiftest in Ukraine’s latest historical past.
“At present, the trial of Shishimarin looks as we have dreamed of,” mentioned Olha Reshetylova, a coordinator for a media initiative for human rights organizations.
It was performed, she mentioned, “without undue delays and artificial procrastination by the parties to the case and the court, with the possibility of access to the court hearing for all, with online broadcasting and media and public attention.”
Ms. Reshetylova lamented that it had taken “a full-scale Russian invasion for the Ukrainian judiciary to understand that transparency and accessibility in warfare is not only a matter of justice, but also an element of justice to satisfy the victims.”
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, acknowledged the trial in a name with journalists on Monday.
“Of course we are concerned about the fate of our citizen,” he mentioned. “But we do not have many opportunities to protect his interests on the spot.”
Maria Varenikova contributed reporting.