For the first time since the invasion began: A Russian soldier admitted to committing war crimes on Ukrainian soil. Sergeant Vadim Shishimrin, 21, admitted today (Wednesday) in the Kiev district court that he shot a 62-year-old Ukrainian who was unarmed and killed him. The incident took place in the northeastern province of Sumy, on February 28, just days after Russia invaded Ukraine.
The latest updates from the war in Ukraine:
According to the Ukrainian prosecution, Shishimrin, who serves as a tank commander, carried out the shooting through a private car window in which he was traveling with four other Russian soldiers in the village of Chupahibka. According to the indictment, the soldiers stole the car to escape the scene, as their convoy was a target for Ukrainian forces. It was also reported that the victim was riding his bicycle and talking on the phone not far from his home, and when he was spotted by the Russian soldier, he was shot in the upper torso with multiple assault rifles.
Ukrainian soldier’s confession:
Although Russia denies that its troops attacked civilians, Shishimrin said he had received an order to kill the civilian – in order to prevent him from reporting the presence of Russian forces. “I was ordered to shoot, I shot him once and he fell,” Shishimrin testified at the first trial in which a Russian soldier is charged with a war crime on Ukrainian soil. The Russian soldier is charged with violating the laws and customs of war as well as premeditated murder, offenses punishable by life imprisonment.
Moscow denies the Ukrainian allegations, claiming that Ukraine is staging the harsh documentation coming from its territory. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov today referred to the trial and said the Russians do not yet have detailed information on the matter, but the Kremlin has very little ability to provide assistance, as Russian diplomatic activity in Ukraine is very limited.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Irina Vendiktova said Ukrainian authorities had already found 41 Russian soldiers to be prosecuted for killing civilians, raping, bombing civilian infrastructure and looting. However, it is not clear how many of those suspects were arrested in Ukraine or tried. At the same time, investigators from the International Criminal Court in The Hague have already arrived in Ukraine to gather evidence for war crimes. Earlier this week we reported that with the withdrawal of the Russian army from Kharkov, the suspicion of committing war crimes intensified there as well.