A 21-year-old Russian soldier yesterday pleaded guilty to the cold-blooded murder of a Ukrainian civilian, as Kyiv began a judicial reckoning for alleged atrocities after nearly three months of war.
Ukraine’s first trial for war crimes since Russia invaded on February 24 came as Russia’s alleged disregard for international law plays out in Ukraine with accusations — including mass rape and massacres — that are under investigation also by international bodies.
Vadim Shishimarin, a shaven-headed sergeant from Irkutsk in Siberia, is expected to be the first of many prosecuted by Ukraine itself. He faces a life sentence after his guilty plea in a cramped Kyiv courtroom.
“By this first trial, we are sending a clear signal that every perpetrator, every person who ordered or assisted in the commission of crimes in Ukraine shall not avoid responsibility,” prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova said.
Russia’s government has no information on the soldier, Peskov said, adding that many such cases reported by Ukraine are “simply fake or staged”.
Shishimarin admitted to a war crime in shooting dead an unarmed 62-year-old man in Ukraine’s Sumy region four days into the invasion, as the man rode a bicycle.
The International Criminal Court is deploying its largest-ever field team to Ukraine, with 42 investigators, forensic experts and support staff being sent into the field to gather evidence of alleged war crimes.
The US State Department also announced it was creating a special unit to research, document and publicise Russian war crimes.
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