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Lviv, Ukraine, May 23 (EFE).- A Russian soldier was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a civilian by a Ukrainian court on Monday.
The trial was the first to be held for alleged war crimes by Russian forces in Ukraine since the start of the war in late February.
Kyiv’s Solomyansky district court found Vadim Shishimarin guilty under article 438 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code, relating to mistreatment or death of prisoners of war or civilians, according to the official Ukrinform news agency.
The 21-year-old had pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial last week, saying he had been following orders to shoot.
According to the prosecutor’s investigation, Shishimarin, killed an unarmed man riding a bicycle in Chupajivka on February 28, four days after the start of Russia’s invasion.
The column of tanks which the commander was a member of had disbanded after an attack by the Ukrainian army, with the accused, in the company of four other soldiers, fleeing in a civilian vehicle they had allegedly seized.
Arriving in Chupajivka, they came across the victim who was talking on the phone, and Shishimarin shot him in the head with a machine gun to prevent him from informing Ukrainian troops of their position.
The commander was later captured by Kyiv forces, and on May 4 the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) released a video in which he confessed to shooting a civilian.
Shishimarin’s attorney said they would appeal the sentence.
The Kremlin said it was looking into how to assist the Russian soldier.
“Of course, we are concerned about the fate of our citizen,” the Russian Presidency spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said at his daily telephone press conference.
Despite not having a diplomatic mission in Ukraine, Russia will resort to “other channels” to help the soldier, he said. “The fate of every citizen of Russia is of utmost importance to us”. EFE