First Ukraine war crimes trial for Russian soldier opens in Kyiv

Saskya Vandoorne, Melissa Bell, Anna Chernova and Radina Gigova

A 21-year-old soldier is to become the first Russian to be tried for war crimes at a trial in Kyiv on Friday.

Vadim Shishimarin will appear before the first war crimes trial since Russia invaded Ukraine back in February. He is accused of killing a 62-year-old man in Ukraine’s Sumy region, according to the country’s prosecutor general’s office.

The investigation alleges that Shishimarin fatally shot an unarmed civilian who was riding a bicycle along the roadside in the village of Chupakhivka on February 28. According to the prosecutor, Russian troops drove into the village in a stolen car with punctured wheels, after their convoy came under attack by Ukrainian forces.

When they saw a man cycling home while on the phone, one of the group ordered the sergeant to kill him so he would not report them to the Ukrainian army. Shishimarin allegedly fired a Kalashnikov several times through an open window at the civilian’s head, prosecutors say.

“Shishimarin is currently in custody. Prosecutors and SBU investigators have gathered enough evidence of his involvement in violating the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder,” Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said in a statement on Facebook.

If found guilty, Shishimarin faces from ten years to life in prison.

When asked to comment on the trial, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday he has “no information” about the case.

“I have no information about this court session or about this case. I don’t know if this is true. I have no information at all on this,” Peskov said during a daily call with journalists.

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