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Ukrainian Court Convicts a Russian Soldier of War Crimes

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 battle 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 battle. Sergeant Shishimarin, who had pleaded responsible initially of the trial final week, was sentenced to life in jail.

Decide Serhiy Ahafonov pronounced Sergeant Shishimarin responsible of violating the legal guidelines and customs of battle and of committing premeditated homicide. The decision could be appealed.

“The defendant admitted his guilt partly, arguing that he had no intention of killing Mr. Shelipov,” mentioned Decide Ahafonov. “The court docket can’t acknowledge 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 by means of a gap within the glass. After the decision, because the court docket emptied of the lots of of native and overseas journalists who gathered to listen to the sentencing, the sergeant paced backwards and forwards within the cell.

Sergeant Shishimarin was a part 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.

In keeping with prosecutors, Sergeant Shishimarin was commanding a tank division from the Moscow area. When his convoy got here below assault by Ukrainian forces on Feb. 28, the Russians dispersed. Sergeant Shishimarin met 4 different males, who stole a automobile and tried to drive away.

From the automobile, 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 — informed him to shoot, prosecutors mentioned.

Sergeant Shishimarin fired three or 4 pictures 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 simply killed?”

The decision represents a milestone in Ukraine’s makes an attempt to carry Russia and its troopers accountable for atrocities dedicated within the battle.

“Investigation of all battle crimes and accountability is our predominant agenda now,” Ukraine’s Prosecutor Normal Irina Venediktova wrote on Fb final week. She introduced that two different circumstances had begun within the Poltava area in opposition to troopers who had shelled the Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv.

Specialists mentioned the trial was one of many swiftest in Ukraine’s latest historical past.

“At current, the trial of Shishimarin appears as we’ve dreamed of,” mentioned Olha Reshetylova, a coordinator for a media initiative for human rights organizations.

It was performed, she mentioned, “with out undue delays and synthetic procrastination by the events to the case and the court docket, with the potential for entry to the court docket listening to for all, with on-line broadcasting and media and public consideration.”

Ms. Reshetylova lamented that it had taken “a full-scale Russian invasion for the Ukrainian judiciary to grasp that transparency and accessibility in warfare just isn’t solely a matter of justice, but additionally a component of justice to fulfill the victims.”

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, acknowledged the trial in a name with journalists on Monday.

“After all we’re involved in regards to the destiny of our citizen,” he mentioned. “However we do not need many alternatives to guard his pursuits on the spot.”

Maria Varenikova contributed reporting.

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