A Russian soldier has been sentenced to life in prison in Ukraine. Vadim Shishimarin is the first Russian to be tried for war crimes since the start of the war.
The Ukrainian court on Monday ruled against the soldier who shot and killed an unarmed 62-year-old man early in the war. Shishimarin’s lawyer announced that he would contest the ruling.
The 21-year-old soldier pleaded guilty to the man’s death. Still, his lawyer asked for an acquittal, because he had followed an order from another soldier. According to the prosecutor, Shishimarin did not have to follow the order, because the other soldier was not higher in rank.
The judge agreed and decided that Shishimarin should go to prison for life. Because Ukraine has no death penalty, that is the maximum penalty. According to the judge, Shishimarin violated the law of war and he intended to kill the man.
Shishimarin’s lawyer said in connection with the appeal that “the social pressure” was felt in the court and thinks that his client has therefore been given a life sentence. The Kremlin had previously worried about whether Shishimarin would receive a fair trial. Moscow had no information about the case and was unable to support him diplomatically in Ukraine.
Ukraine wants to prosecute many more people for crimes during the war. Ukrainian chief prosecutor Irina Venediktova is investigating more than 13,000 cases and has 623 suspects in the picture.