Russia soldier pleads guilty to killing unarmed civilian in Ukraine
State Emergency Services of Ukraine
Russia soldier pleads guilty to killing unarmed civilian in Ukraine

A Russian soldier Wednesday pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed 62-year-old Ukrainian man. The plea came during proceedings in the Solomianskyi District Court of Kyiv.

During the Battle of Sumy, in Ukraine’s east, Vadim Shishimarin shot and killed the man, who was riding a bicycle, “a few meters from [the man’s] home” in the town of Chupakhovka. Shishimarin, accused of “violation of the laws and customs of war,” faces up to life imprisonment for the man’s murder.

Shishmarin said, in a video released by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) that he was traveling as part of a convoy during the battle, in order to “intimidate” the local population, when the convoy came under attack. Shishmarin and four other soldiers commandeered a car in Chupakhovka to find assistance, after which Shishmarin said that he was ordered to shoot a man on a bicycle talking on a phone.

This is the first proceeding against a Russian soldier accused of war crimes in Ukraine, which come after a slew of war crimes accusations against the Russian military. These accusations include the widespread killing of civilians in Bucha, where 10 Russian soldiers were charged amid the discovery of 300 dead Ukrainian civilians in the city. Although the International Criminal Court (ICC) initiated an investigation into Russian war crimes in Ukraine, the ICC lacks full jurisdiction over Ukrainian territory.