Captured Russian on His Guilt: 'Yes. Fully Yes'

Soldier is accused of gunning down unarmed 62-year-old civilian
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 12, 2022 5:59 AM CDT
Updated May 18, 2022 8:26 AM CDT
Ukraine to Hold First War Crimes Trial of a Captured Russian
Russian army Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, is seen behind a glass during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. The Russian soldier has gone on trial in Ukraine for the killing of an unarmed civilian.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

(Newser) Update: A Russian soldier on Wednesday pleaded guilty to charges of killing a Ukrainian civilian just four days after the war began. Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin pleaded guilty to shooting a 62-year-old man on a bicycle in Chupakhivka in what is being called the first war crimes trial related to the Ukraine invasion. He said, "Yes. Fully yes," when asked by the judge if he accepted his guilt, reports the New York Times. The BBC, who describes Shyshimarin as "a very young-looking 21-year-old," reports he could face life in prison. A Kremlin rep brushed off the charges, telling reporters they were "simply fake or staged." Our original story from May 12 follows.

Ukraine’s top prosecutor disclosed plans Wednesday for the first war crimes trial of a captured Russian soldier. Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said her office charged Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, in the killing of an unarmed 62-year-old civilian who was gunned down while riding a bicycle in February, four days into the war. Shyshimarin, who served with a tank unit, was accused of firing through a car window on the man in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka, the AP reports. Venediktova said the soldier could get up to 15 years in prison. She did not say when the trial would start.

Venediktova’s office has said it has been investigating more than 10,700 alleged war crimes committed by Russian forces and has identified over 600 suspects. Many of the alleged atrocities came to light last month after Moscow's forces abandoned their bid to capture Kyiv and withdrew from around the capital, exposing mass graves and streets and yards strewn with bodies in towns such as Bucha. Residents told of killings, burnings, rape, torture, and dismemberment. Volodymyr Yavorskyy of the Center for Civil Liberties said the Ukrainian human rights group will be closely following Shyshimarin's trial to see if it is fair. “It’s very difficult to observe all the rules, norms and neutrality of the court proceedings in wartime,” he said.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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