A tank commander has become the first Russian soldier to be convicted of and sentenced for war crimes by a Ukrainian court since Moscow’s invasion of the country began on February 24.
Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old tank commander from the Siberian region of Irkutsk, was sentenced to life in prison by a Kyiv court on Monday.
Shishimarin last week pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed 62-year-old man in the northeastern Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka on February 28. Shishimarin said he had been ordered to shoot at the man from a car in which he was traveling.
Shishimarin had apparently confessed to the killing in a video released earlier this month by the Security Service of Ukraine, also known as the SBU. “I was ordered to shoot,” Shishimarin said in the video. “I shot one [round] at him. He falls. And we kept on going.”
Last week, the defendant said he was “nervous” at the time of the shooting and “didn’t want to kill” victim Oleksandr Shelipov when he was ordered to do so. Shelipov was on his bike and speaking on his phone when killed, the court heard. Shishimarin said he was ordered to kill him for fear that the civilian might reveal their position.