Conflicts & War

Russian soldier sentenced to life over war crimes

Lviv, Ukraine, May 23 (EFE).- The first Russian soldier to be tried in Ukraine over war crimes was sentenced to a lifetime in prison for killing a civilian, local media announced on Monday.

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 Ukrinform news agency.

The 21-year-old had pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial last week for the killing of a civilian in the northern Ukrainian region of Sumy on 28 February.

Shishimarin, a military unit commander, offered a full statement at the trial of what happened, including how he shot his victim, a 62-year-old man.

The prosecution argued in its indictment that the defendant had killed an unarmed man who was riding a bicycle on the road in the town of Chupajivka.

Fleeing a Ukrainian attack, the defendant – along with four soldiers – arrived in Chupajivka, where he shot the victim in the head with a machine gun to prevent him from giving them away to the Ukrainian troops, according to the prosecution.

The commander was later captured by the Kyiv forces, and on May 4 the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) released a video of him confessing to shooting a civilian, although he said he was following orders.

Shishimarin’s attorney announced he would appeal the sentence.

The Kremlin, for its part, said it will seek options to help 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


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