Two Russia soldiers plead guilty to war crimes in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region
© WikiMedia Commons (State Emergency Service of Ukraine)
Two Russia soldiers plead guilty to war crimes in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region

Two Russian soldiers Thursday pleaded guilty in the Kotelevsky District Court of Poltava to war crimes charges for shelling houses and infrastructure in Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast in the northeast.

Oleksandr Bobykin and Oleksandr Ivanov both pleaded guilty to charges of “violation of the laws and customs of war,” which carries a sentence of 8 to 12 years in prison. Ukrainian Prosecutors Vasyl Panov and Oleh Maksyuk asked the court to impose the maximum sentence of 12 years on the defendants. The defendants and their lawyers argued for a reduced sentence on the grounds that the soldiers were ordered to shell their targets and were remorseful.

Bobykin and Ivanov were part of a Russian artillery unit that shelled from Russian territory an educational facility, residences, and a power substation in the towns of Kozacha Lopan and Dergachi located in the Kharkiv Oblast. The pair were captured after entering Ukrainian territory.

The soldiers are expected to be sentenced on May 31.

This is the second instance in which Russian soldiers have pleaded guilty to war crimes committed during the invasion of Ukraine. On Monday Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin was sentenced to life in prison for killing a civilian who was riding a bicycle in Sumy. Shishimarin, who previously pleaded guilty on May 18, received the maximum sentence available for his crime. Bobykin and Ivanov are not liable to life imprisonment since their crimes did not include premeditated murder.