The first Russian soldier charged with a war crime during the invasion of Ukraine has pleaded guilty

The defendant, Vadim Shishimarin, 21 (Reuters)

The first Russian soldier tried for war crimes in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion pleaded guilty on Wednesday, and admitted all the facts for which he is accused.

Asked if he recognized “without reservation” the entirety of the act, which includes chargesor war crime and premeditated murderthe petty officer Vadim Shishimarin answered “Yes”.

Shishimarin21 years old, is accused of the death of a 62-year-old man on February 28 in northeastern Ukraine. The soldier, originally from Irkutsk in Siberia, is liable to life imprisonment.

the trial, the first of several to be held in the short term, is a test for the Ukrainian judicial system at a time when international institutions are carrying out their own investigations into the alleged abuses committed by Russian troops in this country.

“He understands the accusations brought against him”stated earlier to AFP his lawyer, Viktor Ovsiannikov, inadvertently revealing the defense strategy. Ukrainian authorities said that the subject cooperated with the investigation and admitted the facts.

These took place four days after the start of the Russian invasion.

Accused of war crime and premeditated murder, the soldier, originally from Irkutsk in Siberia, is liable to life imprisonment.  (Reuters)
Accused of war crime and premeditated murder, the soldier, originally from Irkutsk in Siberia, is liable to life imprisonment. (Reuters)

According to the indictment, Shishimarin was commanding a unit within an armored division when his convoy was attacked. He with four other soldiers he stole a vehicle to escape. Near the village of Chupakhivka, in the Sumi region, They passed a 62-year-old man on a bicycle. “One of the soldiers ordered the accused to kill the civilian so that he would not report them”according to the attorney general’s office.

According to the prosecution’s account, the soldier fired a kalashnikov from the window of the vehicle and “the man died instantly a few dozen meters from his house.”

An unprecedented process

In early May, the Ukrainian authorities announced his arrest without giving details along with a video in which the soldier said that he had gone to fight in the Ukraine to “support his mother financially”.

about the accusations, Shishimarin explained: “I received the order to shoot, I shot him once. He fell and we continued on our way.”

The case is complicated, says his lawyer. “We have never had this kind of accusation in Ukraine, we have no precedents, verdicts“, he pointed. “But we will succeed,” added Ovsiannikov, assuring that he had not found “any violation of the rights” of the accused by the authorities.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova underlined in a series of messages on Twitter the importance of the case for his country. “We have opened more than 11,000 investigations for war crimes and detained 40 suspects,” he wrote.

Waiting for them to come to court, “with this first trial, we send a clear signal: no executioner, no person who has ordered or helped commit crimes in Ukraine is going to escape justice,” he said.

The Ukrainian authorities do not want to waste time and on Thursday two other Russian soldiers will begin to be tried for firing projectiles at civilian infrastructure in the northeastern region of Kharkov, the country’s second largest city.

(With information from AFP/By Charlotte Plantive)

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