A Ukrainian court has sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for killing a Ukrainian civilian – following the first war crimes trial since Russia’s invasion.
Sgt Vadim Shishimarin was accused of shooting the civilian in the head in a village in the north-eastern Sumy region in the early days of the conflict, which started on February 24.
He pleaded guilty and said he was following orders when he shot the man.
He told the court an officer insisted the victim, who was speaking on his mobile phone, could pinpoint their location to Ukrainian forces.
During the trial, Shishimarin asked the man’s widow to forgive him.
Shishimarin’s defence lawyer Victor Ovsyanikov argued that his client, a member of a Russian tank unit who was eventually captured, had been unprepared for the “violent military confrontation” and mass casualties that Russian troops encountered when they first invaded Ukraine.