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Kyiv: A Ukrainian court sentenced a Russian soldier to life in prison on Monday, May 23 for killing an unarmed civilian in the first war crimes trial arising from Russia’s February 24 invasion.
Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old tank commander, had pleaded guilty to killing 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov in the Northeastern Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka on February 28 after being ordered to shoot him.
Judge Serhiy Agafonov said Shishimarin, carrying out a “criminal order” by a soldier of higher rank, had fired several shots at the victim’s head from an automatic weapon.
Shishimarin, wearing a blue and grey hooded sweatshirt, watched proceedings silently from a reinforced glass box in the courtroom and showed no emotion as the verdict was read out.
The trial has huge symbolic significance for Ukraine, which has accused Russia of atrocities and brutality against civilians during the invasion and said it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes.
Russia has denied targeting civilians or involvement in war crimes.
The Kremlin did not immediately comment on the verdict. It has previously said that it has no information about the trial and that the absence of a diplomatic mission in Ukraine limits its ability to provide assistance.