First Russian soldier goes on trial for war crimes in Ukraine

This 21-year-old Russian soldier is the first to go on trial for war crimes in Kyiv, accused of shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in the head.

Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin is alleged to have shot the Ukrainian civilian with a Kalashnikov through an open car window.

He was fleeing with four other soldiers in a stolen car in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka on February 28, just days after the start of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

The man was pushing a bicycle by the side of the road when he was shot in the head and ‘died on the spot a few dozen metres from his home’, the Ukrainian prosecutor general said.

They said the captured tank unit member was ordered by a superior ‘to kill a civilian so he would not report them to Ukrainian defenders.’

If found guilty, Shyshimarin faces life in prison under a section of the Ukrainian criminal code addressing the laws and customs of war.

Ukraine’s top prosecutor, with help from foreign experts, is investigating allegations that Russian troops violated Ukrainian and international law by killing, torturing and abusing possibly thousands of Ukrainian civiliasns.

Today’s hearing, in which Shyshimarin was sat in a glassed-off area wearing a blue and grey hoodie, sweatpants and a shaved head, was brief.

A judge asked him to provide his name, address, marital status and other identifying details.

He also was asked whether he understood his rights, quietly replying ‘yes,’ and if wanted a jury trial, which he declined.

The judges and lawyers discussed procedural matters before the judges left the courtroom and then returned to say the case would continue on May 18.

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