A Ukrainian court has sentenced a Russian soldier to life imprisonment in the first war crimes trial in connection with Russia’s February 24 invasion. The soldier has been held guilty of killing an unarmed civilian man.
Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old tank commander has been sentenced to life in prison for killing 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov in the northeastern Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka on February 28.
Judge Serhiy Agafonov said that Shishimarin, carrying out a “criminal order” by a soldier of higher rank, had fired several shots at the victim’s head from an automatic weapon.
Judge Serhiy stated, “The court has decided: Shishimarin Vadim Evgenyevich … is found guilty … and sentenced him to life imprisonment.”
“Given that the crime committed is a crime against peace, security, humanity and the international legal order … the court does not see the possibility of imposing a [shorter] sentence of imprisonment on Shishimarin for a certain period,” the judge added.
Sitting in a blue and grey hooded sweatshirt, the Russian soldier watched proceedings silently from a reinforced glass box in the courtroom. He didn’t show any emotions while the judge was pronouncing the verdict.
Vadim was provided a translation of the judge’s words from Ukrainian to Russian by a court-appointed translator.
Iryna Venediktov, Ukrainian Prosecutor General, stated that she is preparing over 40 war crimes cases which will be tried soon. The Ukrainian authorities have claimed that they have received over 10,000 war crimes across the country.
Some legal experts are finding it extremely unusual and violative of the Geneva Convention that Ukraine courts are trying cases so quickly despite the fact that the conflict is still ongoing.
During an interview, Vadim’s mother told that her son is a caring and kind young man who had joined the army partly because there was a lack of opportunity in their home town, and partly to help support the family after his stepfather was killed last year.
She also said, “Mummy, I won’t have a telephone for a week, I have to give it up. If someone tells you I went to Ukraine, don’t believe them.”
The next she heard of him was when she found out he was a prisoner in Ukraine, his mother added.