Prosecutors in Ukraine are seeking life in prison for the first Russian soldier to stand trial on accusations of committing a war crime in Ukraine.
Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, who went on trial on May 18, pleaded guilty in the shooting death of a 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian, Oleksandr Shelypov, who was shot while riding a bicycle in the village of Chupakhivka in the northeastern region of Sumy.
Prosecutors on May 19 asked the court to sentence Shishimarin to life in prison. The trial was then adjourned until May 20. The trial is being held at the Solomyanka district court in Kyiv and is open to the public.
The victim’s widow, Kateryna Shelypova, testified on May 19 that she wants life in prison for the defendant but would agree to an exchange for Ukrainian soldiers captured by Russia troops.
Shishimarin, who comes from the Siberian region of Irkutsk, said that he understands that it is impossible for Shelypova to forgive him, but still said he is sorry.
The 21-year-old Shishimarin said he did not want to kill Shelypov but was ordered to shoot him to prevent him from reporting on the Russians’ presence. He said he fired several shots through an open car window, hitting the civilian in the head.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that Russia has no information about the trial, adding that Russia’s ability to provide assistance is limited due to the absence of its diplomatic mission.
The killing occurred just days after Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova last month identified 10 soldiers of the 64th Mechanized Infantry Brigade of the Russian armed forces, saying that they are suspected of “cruelty toward civilians and other war crimes.” She added that Ukrainian investigators are continuing to gather evidence and that those named were just the first.
She also said at the time that investigations were under way to find out if the 10 Russians took part in the killing of civilians in Bucha.
The retreat of Russian forces from Bucha and other towns near Kyiv revealed harrowing evidence of brutal killings, torture, mass graves, and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians in the fighting.
On May 12, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) overwhelmingly approved a resolution to set up an investigation into allegations of abuses by Russian troops in areas of Ukraine they temporarily controlled.
The UNHRC’s resolution cited apparent cases of torture, shootings, and sexual violence, along with other atrocities documented by a UN team on the ground.