(Kyiv) First conviction for war crimes in Ukraine since the beginning of the Moscow offensive: a Russian soldier was sentenced Monday in Kyiv to life imprisonment. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded “maximum” international sanctions, including “no trade with Russia”.

Posted at 7:18 a.m.

Charlotte PLANTIVE in kyiv with Dmitry ZAKS in Severodonetsk and Patrick FORT in Kharkiv
France Media Agency

This appeal by the Ukrainian head of state, during a videoconference at the opening of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, comes three months after the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, when the Ukrainian authorities suffer “increasingly” in the Donbass in the face of the firepower of Russian troops.

In Kyiv, the verdict in the first war crimes trial is in. A 21-year-old Russian soldier accused of killing a 62-year-old civilian who was pushing his bicycle while on the phone at the start of the Russian offensive has been found guilty by a court in the capital.

During the trial last week, Vadim Chichimarine admitted to having shot the sexagenarian but said he was “sincerely sorry” and had “asked forgiveness” from the victim’s widow, justifying his act by the “orders” received at that time. the.

Arguments swept away by the prosecution who had demanded life imprisonment. “He was carrying out a criminal order and was well aware of it,” said one of the prosecutors.

The soldier will appeal his sentence, according to his lawyer.

Signal to China

According to the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office, the country has opened more than 12,000 war crimes investigations since the start of the conflict.

In Davos (Switzerland), facing the cream of the world economy, the Ukrainian president urged the international community to take “maximum” sanctions, including “no trade with Russia”.

PHOTO ARND WIEGMANN, REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

He also called for more weapons for his country.

Ukraine needs all the weapons we ask for, not just the ones that have been supplied.

Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine

From Tokyo, US President Joe Biden has also kept up the pressure on Moscow, recalling that Russia must “pay a long-term price” for its “barbarity in Ukraine” in terms of sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies. .

“It’s not just about Ukraine,” insisted the American president. Because if “the sanctions were not maintained in many respects, then what signal would that send to China about the cost of an attempt to take Taiwan by force? “.

The EU Member States are still trying to agree on a halt to Russian oil purchases, refused by Hungary, which is very dependent on Moscow in this sector and which is demanding financial compensation in this case.

At the end of an unsuccessful meeting on the subject a week ago in Brussels, the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell conceded that finalizing the 6e sanctions package against Russia would take “time”. An extraordinary European summit is scheduled for May 30 and 31.

“Scorched Earth Tactics”

On the ground, Kyiv admitted that the situation was becoming “more and more difficult” in the Donbass where Moscow bombards Severodonetsk “24 hours a day”.

There are, according to Serguiï Gaïdaï, governor of the Luhansk region, the units withdrawn from the Kharkiv region (north-east), the attackers of the siege of Mariupol (south-east), the militias of the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk , Chechen forces and troops mobilized as reinforcements from Siberia and the Russian Far East.

“All Russian forces are concentrated in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” Gaidai said on Telegram. Same with armament. “Everything is concentrated here,” added the governor, including the famous S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile complexes, equivalent to the American Patriots.

Crucial point of this battle of Donbass, Severodonetsk, in the region of Luhansk, is under fire from Moscow “24 hours a day”, was indignant Mr. Gaïdaï.

PHOTO ARIS MESSINIS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A bridge that connects Lysytchansk to Severodonetsk, in the Luhansk region, was destroyed by Russian strikes.

“They are using scorched earth tactics, they are deliberately destroying the city” with aerial bombardments, multiple rocket launchers, mortars or tanks firing at buildings, he added.

The Ukrainian army announced on Facebook on Sunday at least seven civilians killed and eight others injured in bombings in 45 municipalities in the Donetsk region.

The fate of Severodonetsk resembles that of Mariupol, which today presents an apocalyptic landscape after several weeks of siege. Several neighborhoods are nothing but a tangle of sheet metal and debris, bars of buildings ripped open by missiles and shells.

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