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21-year-old Russian pleads guilty to acts of warfare in first war crimes trial

Extra.ie logo Extra.ie 19/05/2022 Chloe OKeeffe

A Russian baby-faced killer who shot an unarmed cyclist dead in Ukraine has pleaded guilty to war crimes.

Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin admitted to killing the civilian, in the first war crimes trial. Shyshimarin claimed he was ordered to pull the trigger by his commander.

The young sergeant was driving a stolen vehicle with other soldiers when they caught sight of the cyclist, 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov, using a phone in the village of Chupakhivka near Sumy, during the opening week of the war.

Russian Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin pleaded guilty to war crimes following shooting a 62-year-old unarmed civilian to death in the opening week of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Pic: OLEG PETRASYUK/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock. © Provided by Extra.ie Russian Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin pleaded guilty to war crimes following shooting a 62-year-old unarmed civilian to death in the opening week of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Pic: OLEG PETRASYUK/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock.

The young man was allegedly to to shoot the civilian in a bid to stop him from telling Ukrainian defenders of the Russians position.

The trial is the first of thousands of potential Russian war crimes to go to court. The soldier faces a life jail term of 10-15 years.

A group of 42 investigators have been sent to Ukraine by the International Criminal Court to launch the biggest ever war crimes probe into the Russian obscenities.

The 21-year-old is facing the possibility of life imprisonment in Kyiv for his senseless acts. He claims he was ordered by his superior to pull the trigger. Pic: Oleksandr Khomenko/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie The 21-year-old is facing the possibility of life imprisonment in Kyiv for his senseless acts. He claims he was ordered by his superior to pull the trigger. Pic: Oleksandr Khomenko/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

The victim’s widow, Kateryna, sat two yards from her husband’s killer, teary-eyed as he confessed his guilt. Kateryna sat with hands clasped as the young soldier admitted murder with his Kalashnikov assault rifle.

When asked by the judge is he accepted his guilt, Shyshimarin replied ‘Yes.’ He appeared in a grey metal and glass cage in the court.

The captured member of a tank unit, first appeared at the Solomyanskyy district court in Kyiv last week.

Kateryna Shelipova (background), widow of killed Oleksandr Shelipov, attends a court hearing of Russian serviceman Vadim Shishimarin in the Solomyansky district court in Kyiv. Pic: OLEG PETRASYUK/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie Kateryna Shelipova (background), widow of killed Oleksandr Shelipov, attends a court hearing of Russian serviceman Vadim Shishimarin in the Solomyansky district court in Kyiv. Pic: OLEG PETRASYUK/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

A top prosecutor in Ukraine is probing whether Vladimir Putin’s troops violated Ukrainian, and international law, by allegedly killing, torturing and abusing thousands of Ukraine’s civilians.

The office of General Iryna Venediktova said it is looking into over 10,500 potential war crimes involving more than 600 suspects. This includes Russian soldiers and government officials.

Many of the claimed atrocities were discovered last month when Moscow’s forces withdrew from around the capital of Kyiv, exposing mass graves and streets strewn with bodies in nearby towns.

Shyshimarin was part of a group of Russian troops who were defeated by the Ukrainina resistance. They fled the scene in a stolen car. Pic: Ken Cedeno/UPI/REX/Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie Shyshimarin was part of a group of Russian troops who were defeated by the Ukrainina resistance. They fled the scene in a stolen car. Pic: Ken Cedeno/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

Shyshimarin was part of a group of Russian troops that were defeated by the Ukrainian resistance on February 28, just four days after the invasion, prosecutors revealed.

The Russians opened fire on a car and stole the vehicle, fleeing the scene. They drove to Chupahivka, a village approximately 200 miles east of Kyiv. The victim was noticed, and Shyshimarin was allegedly ordered to shoot the unarmed man so he couldn’t report the group to Ukrainian authorities.

The man died at the scene, only metres from his home.

The Security Service of Ukraine shared a short video of Shyshimarin explaining on camera how he shot the man.

This is the first war crimes trial, and many say that a close eye will be kept on it to see how it plays out. Pic: Ken Cedeno/UPI/REX/Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie This is the first war crimes trial, and many say that a close eye will be kept on it to see how it plays out. Pic: Ken Cedeno/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

The Russian said: ‘I was ordered to shoot, wearing a blue and grey hooded sweatshirt. I shot one (round) at him. He falls. And we kept on going.’

There will be a particularly close eye kept on the first war-crimes case. Coordinator at the Centre for Civil Liberties in Kyiv, Volodymyr Yavorskyy has said that activists will be monitoring the Russian soldier’s trial to ensure his legal rights are protected.

Yavorskyy said it can be ‘difficult to maintain the neutrality’ during wartime, but the trial’s rules and norms will be observed, and will ‘determine how similar cases’ are handled in the future.

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