Ukraine war: Russian soldier pleads guilty to killing unarmed civilian, in first war crimes trial

Ukraine war: Russian soldier pleads guilty to killing unarmed civilian, in first war crimes trial

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A Russian soldier pled guilty to murder charges Wednesday in Ukraine’s first war crimes trial since Russia’s invasion began.

Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is accused of murder in the death of a 62-year-old unarmed civilian on Feb. 28, just four days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. Shishimarin has tested that he only fired at the civilian on orders from a superior. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“I was ordered to shoot,” Shyshimarin said of the incident. “I shot one [round] at him. He falls. And we kept on going.”

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Kremlin officials said they had no information about the trial in a Wednesday statement. Ukraine first held preliminary hearings in Shishimarin’s case on Friday.

“We still have no information,” Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov told Agence France Presse. “”And the ability to provide assistance due to the lack of our diplomatic mission there is also very limited.”

Russian army Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is seen behind a glass during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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President Joe Biden and other world leaders have called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to face a war crimes trial for Russia’s conduct in the invasion.

The accusations reached a boiling point when Russian forces conducted a hasty withdrawal from around Kyiv last month, leaving behind evidence they had slaughtered civilians and forced others to dig mass graves in the town of Bucha.

Ukraine has yet to begin a trial directly related to the Bucha atrocities.

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