Ukraine conflict: Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin jailed for life over war crime

A Russian soldier has been found guilty in the first war crimes trial held in Ukraine since the war began.

Vadim Shishimarin, 21, has been sentenced to life for killing an unarmed civilian days after Russia's invasion began.

Captured soldier Sgt Vadim Shishimarin was convicted of killing Oleksandr Shelipov, 62, in the village of Chupakhivka, in the north-east of Ukraine, on February 28.

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Ukraine war crimes trial: Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin's weakness shows 'ba...
Russian Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin listens to his translator during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, May 23, 2022.

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Prior to the verdict, Shishimarin's defence lawyer, who was appointed by the state, said no Russian official had been in touch with him.

At the time of the killing, Shishimarin and other soldiers were travelling in a car they had seized after their convoy came under attack and they became separated from their unit.

He claims he was ordered to shoot at Oleksandr Shelipov and that he fired the rounds out of safety for his own life and pled guilty.

Shishimarin told the court an officer insisted the victim, who was speaking on his mobile phone, could pinpoint their location to Ukrainian forces.

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During the trial, Shishimarin asked the man’s widow to forgive him.

Shishimarin’s defence lawyer Victor Ovsyanikov argued that his client, a member of a Russian tank unit who was eventually captured, had been unprepared for the “violent military confrontation” and mass casualties that Russian troops encountered when they first invaded Ukraine.

Multiple other alleged war crimes are being investigated by Ukraine.

The sentencing came as the three-month-old war helped push the number of people displaced worldwide to a record high, according to the United Nations