Ukraine has begun the trial of a captured Russian soldier accused of killing a Ukrainian civilian in the early days of the war — the first of dozens of war crimes cases that the country’s top prosecutor is pursuing.
21 year old Russian Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin could get life in prison if convicted of shooting a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head through an open car window in a north-eastern village on February 28, four days into the invasion.
The defendant sat in a small glass cage during the proceedings, which lasted about 15 minutes and will resume on Wednesday. The trial will be closely watched by international observers to ensure its fairness.
His Ukraine-assigned attorney, Victor Ovsyanikov, has acknowledged that the case against Shyshimarin is strong and has not said what his defence will be.
Shyshimarin, a member of a tank unit that was captured by Ukrainian forces, admitted that he shot the civilian in a video posted by the Security Service of Ukraine, saying he was ordered to do so.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said she is readying war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offences including bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting.
She said two of those accused of bombing civilian infrastructure and residential buildings are in Ukrainian hands.
It wasn’t clear how many of the suspects would be tried in absentia.