A Russian soldier pleaded guilty to fatally shooting a civilian in the first war crime trial in Ukraine, The New York Times reports.
Russian Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin pleaded guilty on Wednesday to shooting a 62-year-old man on a bicycle in the village of Chupakhivka in the Sumy region, about 200 miles east of Kyiv.
The shooting occurred just four days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The soldier faces 10 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors said the soldier admitted to shooting the man.
He said in a videotaped statement that he and four other Russian soldiers stole a car and gunpoint and were fleeing Ukrainian troops when they spotted the man talking on a phone.
“I was ordered to shoot, I fired an automatic burst at him, he fell. We drove on,” he said.
First war crime trial:
The soldier was charged under a Ukrainian statute dealing with “the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder.”
He has not been charged with a war crime under international law.
The trial took place in a crowded court room and the proceedings were broadcast on YouTube, underscoring the widespread interest.
Prosecutor Andriy Sinyuk called it an “unprecedented procedure” in which “a serviceman of a different country is accused of murdering a civilian of Ukraine.”
Moscow claims “fake”:
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov dismissed the trial, claiming that the allegations against the Russian soldier were “simply fake or staged.”
“We still have no information,” Peskov said. “And the ability to provide assistance due to the lack of our diplomatic mission there is also very limited.”