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


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

Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is charged with the murder of a 62-year-old unarmed civilian on February 28, just four days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Shishimarin testified that he only shot 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 pulled one [round] to him. He falls. And we continued.”

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

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

Russian Army Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is seen behind 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 on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stand trial for war crimes for Russia’s conduct during the invasion.

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

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

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