Russian soldier sentenced to life in prison for killing Ukrainian civilian

A Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison on Monday for killing an unarmed Ukrainian civilian in the first war crimes trial since the invasion.

Vadim Shishimarin, 21, a tank commander, was found guilty by a district court in Kyiv of killing a 62-year-old civilian in Ukraine’s northeastern Sumy region.

Last week, Shishimarin pleaded guilty to the killing but said he was acting on orders.

Shishimarin “fired several shots through the open window of the car with a Kalashnikov rifle into the head of the victim,” according to the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office. “The man died at the scene just a few dozen meters from his home.”

According to televised footage from the courtroom, Shishimarin remained silent in a glass box with his hands behind his back as the verdict was delivered.

Shishimarin’s lawyers said they would appeal.

This was the first war crimes trial in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion in February. Last week, a court in the central Poltava region began hearing a case involving two Russian soldiers accused of shelling civilians in the Kharkiv region. The soldiers have pleaded guilty.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said minutes before the verdict was announced that Russia was “concerned” about the fate of its citizen, but it has “practically no opportunities” to protect him since the activities of Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine have been suspended.

“But this does not mean that we will not consider the possibility of continuing attempts through other channels,” state news agency TASS quoted Peskov as saying.

Last week, the prosecutor general’s office said Kyiv has registered over 12,000 suspected war crimes committed by Russian troops, as well as almost 6,000 crimes against national security.