Ukraine to Hold First War Crimes Trial of Russian Soldier in Custody

Ukraine announced on May 11 that it is launching its first war crimes trial in the Russian invasion, in the case of a Russian soldier accused of killing a civilian.

Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova identified the first Russian service member to stand trial on a war crimes charge in the 11-week war as 21-year-old Vadim Shishimarin, who is in custody.

Venediktova accused Shishimarin — a member of the elite 4th Guards Tank Division — of shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in the head in the Chupakhivka village of Sumy region on Feb. 28.

Venediktova said the civilian was pushing a bike by the side of the road when Shishimarin fired the shot, killing the civilian “on the spot just a few dozens of meters from his house.”

According to Venediktova, Shishimarin and four other soldiers seized a private car while fleeing, then shot the civilian “so he would not report them to Ukrainian defenders.”

Investigators found Shishimarin “in violation of the laws and customs of war combined with premeditated murder,” Venediktova said.

Shishimarin faces either 10 to 15 years in prison or life in prison.

“Shishimarin is actually physically in Ukraine. We are starting a trial not in absentia, but rather directly with the person who killed a civilian, and this is a war crime,” Venediktova told Ukraine’s public broadcaster, according to The Washington Post.

Venediktova did not elaborate on how Shishimarin ended up in Ukrainian custody.

Venediktova’s office also did not provide details on the evidence that the investigators collected in the case.

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