Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin pleads guilty in 1st Ukraine war crimes trial
Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old Russian soldier, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed civilian as Ukraine has started its first war crimes trial since the beginning of Moscow's invasion.
Ukrainian prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova previously said her office was readying war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offences that included bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting, news agency AP.
However, it was not immediately clear how many of the suspects are in Ukrainian hands and how many would be tried.
The trial comes even as Russia claimed that as many as 959 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol.
Who is Vadim Shishimarin?
Shishimarin from Irkutsk in Siberia has confessed to gunning down the 62-year-old man near the central village of Chupakhivka to prevent him reporting a carjacking by fleeing Russian troops.
If found guilty, Shishimarin could be sent to jail for life for war crimes and premeditated murder.
"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," Venediktova tweeted.
Shishimarin's trial opened Friday when he made a brief court appearance while lawyers and judges discussed procedural matters.
What happened on February 28?
On February 28, Shishimarin and a group of Russian troops fled Ukrainian forces, according to Venediktova’s Facebook account.
The Russians allegedly fired at a private car and seized the vehicle, then drove to Chupakhivka, a village about 200 miles east of Kyiv.
On the way, the prosecutor-general alleged, the Russian soldiers saw a man walking on the sidewalk and talking on his phone.
Shyshimarin was ordered to kill the man so he wouldn’t be able to report them to Ukrainian military authorities.
(With inputs from AP, AFP)
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