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Ukraine war crimes trial: two more Russian soldiers plead guilty

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Two Russian soldiers pleaded guilty Thursday to bombing a town in eastern Ukraine in the country’s latest war crimes trial.

The confession comes just days after a 21-year-old Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison for shooting a 62-year-old man in the head early in the war.

Prosecutors asked a district court on Thursday to sentence Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov to 12 years each after the pair admitted shooting at targets in the Kharkiv region from Russia’s Belgorod border region, according to Reuters.

The strikes reportedly destroyed an educational institution in the town of Derhachi.

A firefighter struggles to put out a blaze after a Russian airstrike hit the House of Culture, which was used to distribute aid, in Derhachi, Ukraine on May 13.
(Reuters/Ricardo Moraes)


Their lawyer, however, is asking for leniency, saying the soldiers – one an artillery driver and the other a gunner – were only obeying military orders and repented of their actions.

“I am fully guilty of the crimes I am charged with. We fired into Ukraine from Russia,” Bobikin told the court, according to Reuters.

Ukraine war crimes trial: two more Russian soldiers plead guilty

Russian Army Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is seen behind glass during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday May 18. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of an unarmed civilian.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

“I repent and ask for a reduced sentence,” Ivanov reportedly added.


Ukraine war crimes trial: two more Russian soldiers plead guilty

Vera Kosolopenko reacts outside her destroyed house in the village of Bezruky, near Derhachi, Ukraine, May 14 after being hit by Russian shelling.
(Reuters/Ricardo Moraes)

The two soldiers were captured after crossing the Ukrainian border and continuing the shelling, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said.

The verdict of the trial is expected by the end of May.

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