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The Solomensky Court of Kyiv sentenced the captive sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, accused of killing a civilian in the Sumy region, to life imprisonment. This is the first Russian soldier to appear before a Ukrainian court since the invasion began.
The announcement of the verdict took less than an hour. The judge found Shishimarin guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment, a BBC correspondent reports from the court. The sergeant was tried under the article “Violation of the laws and customs of war” (part 2 of article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).
Shishimarin, 21, is the first Russian soldier to stand trial on charges of war crimes since the invasion of Ukraine. Shishimarin was accused of murdering Alexander Shelipov, a 62-year-old resident of the village of Chupakhovka. Already at the first court session, the sergeant admitted his guilt.
The trial took only a week.
The events that took place on February 28, according to the prosecution, developed as follows: not far from the village of Grinchenkove, the Ukrainian military smashed the convoy in which Shishimarin was, after which he and four other Russian military seized the car of one of the civilians and drove it towards the border.
On the way, they saw Shelipov talking on the phone, and a military man named Pufakov ordered Shishimarin to kill the man so that he would not inform the Ukrainian soldiers about them.
Shishimarin fired several shots at him from a machine gun, Shelipov died of a bullet wound to the head a few tens of meters from his house.
Already after the murder of Shelipov, the car with Shishimarin came under fire, and soon he and three other servicemen decided to surrender.
Shishimarin’s defender Viktor Ovsyannikov insisted in court that the sergeant succumbed to the pressure of two persons whom he considered his commanders and complied with the requirements of the regulations of the Russian armed forces. According to the lawyer, the 21-year-old military man carried out the order formally, hoping that he would not hit a person.
According to the story of Shishimarin himself, having heard the order of the ensign, he hesitated and did not shoot. Then he was approached by another military man (“unknown”), who began to shout and demand that the Shishimarin shoot, because otherwise they would be in danger.
“I didn’t want to kill him. I shot to get away from me,” Shishimarin said in court.
In his short last word, he apologized to Shelipov’s widow and said that he did not want to kill her husband. “I sincerely repent of what I did. At that moment I was nervous, there were hostilities, and I didn’t want to kill, but it happened … Subsequently, I realized that it was better to surrender,” he said.
The widow of the murdered man, Katerina Shelipova, said in court that she wants Shishimarin to be sentenced to life imprisonment, specifying that she would not object to being exchanged for Ukrainian soldiers from Azovstal.
Shishimarin, originally from the city of Ust-Ilimsk, Irkutsk Region, served as a squad leader in the 4th Kantemirovskaya Tank Division, Moscow Region.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment on the situation with Shishimarin. The Kremlin cites a lack of information.
“Of course, we are concerned about the fate of our citizen,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said shortly before the end of the verdict. “Unfortunately, we are not able to protect his interests on the spot.”
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