A court in Ukraine’s northeastern town of Kotelva has sentenced two Russian soldiers to 11.5 years in prison each after finding them guilty of violating the rules of war.
Soldiers Aleksandr Ivanov and Aleksandr Bobykin were convicted of shelling and destroying several residential buildings in the town of Kozacha Lopan and a school in the town of Veterinarne in the eastern Kharkiv region with a Grad multiple rocket launcher on February 24, the day Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
The two were captured by the Ukrainian military the same day. They admitted to firing the rockets but said they had no idea what the targets were as they were given coordinates to program into the launch.
Lawyers for the two soldiers asked the Kotelva district court to sentence their clients to eight years in prison each, citing the two soldiers’ repentance and the fact that they were following the orders of their commanders.
Ivanov refused to give a final statement at the trial, while Bobykin offered his apologies and expressed hope that the war will end soon.
Ukraine says it has identified thousands of war crimes committed by Russian troops during the war.
Investigators from several countries, as well as the International Criminal Court, have been gathering and examining evidence to determine whether war crimes have been committed.
Russia says it has not purposely targeted civilians in its military operations despite mounting video and concrete evidence that shows the destruction of apartment buildings, hospitals, cultural venues, and other non-military sites.
On May 30, Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova said that another Russian soldier, Mikhail Romanov, will soon face trial on a rape charge.
On May 23, a court in Kyiv sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin to life in prison for killing an unarmed civilian in the northeastern region of Sumy.