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Captured Russian soldier sentenced to Life in Prison for killing an Ukrainian Civilian

In the first war crimes trial since Moscow's invasion three months ago, a Russian soldier was sentenced to life in jail on Monday for killing an unarmed civilian. The verdict brings to a close days of hearings in a Kyiv courtroom and might pave the way for a slew of further charges for alleged Russian atrocities committed during the conflict. After admitting to killing an unarmed 62-year-old man in the head in a town in northern Ukraine in the early days of the war, Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, pleaded guilty to violating the laws and customs of war under a part of the Ukrainian penal code.

Image: Sentencing Hearing For Russian Soldier Accused Of War Crime

The decision is effective in 30 days and can be challenged during that time. The soldier, who was taken as part of a tank unit, will be held in detention until the judgement is reached. The case attracted international attention as a result of rising allegations of Russian forces committing war crimes in Ukraine, some of which have been documented by international human rights organisations.

Ukraine has initiated a huge investigation into alleged war crimes committed on its soil, while the International Criminal Court and the United Nations have launched separate investigations. The case has gotten a lot of attention because it involves a captured soldier being tried in the country that his armed forces invaded during the war.

Shyshimarin, who sat in a glass booth separated from the rest of the courtroom and wore a blue and grey prison tracksuit with his head shaved, was quiet throughout the hearing. Through a narrow aperture in his booth, the young soldier had a translator assist him in translating the proceedings, which were conducted in Ukrainian. He stood with his hands behind his back and his head stooped down to hear the translator during witness testimony.

Last Thursday, he testified in court that he fired the fatal shot under duress from authorities. He originally refused to accept his commanding officer's order to shoot the unarmed civilian, but did so after another officer reiterated the order. He called what he did "inappropriate" and begged the victim's wife's forgiveness. His defence contended that the cops who allegedly pressured him to carry out the order, as well as their superiors, should be held accountable, rather than Shyshimarin. The presiding judge said Shyshimarin was well aware that the victim was a civilian and that he did not have to follow out what he called a "criminal command" to shoot him when pronouncing the verdict on Monday.


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Kyiv Russian Ukrainian Vadim Shyshimarin


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