Life imprisonment requested for the first Russian soldier tried for war crimes in Ukraine
Eva Deschamps / May 20, 2022
Maximum sentence. On the second day of the hearing, the prosecutor's office in Kiev requested life imprisonment for Vadim Shishimarin, the first Russian soldier to be tried for organized war crimes in Ukraine. The accused did not react to this indictment. The hearing was then suspended and will resume on Friday with the plea of his lawyer.
Earlier in the day, the 21-year-old came face-to-face with the widow of Oleksandr Chelipov, a 62-year-old civilian he admits to shooting on February 28 in northeast Ukraine. Do you feel remorse for the crime you committed? asked Katerina Chelipova in a clear voice. I know you will not be able to forgive me, but I still ask for your forgiveness, he replied.
But why did you come here? To free us from what? What did my husband do to you? the short-haired woman reacted. The young man, who is facing life imprisonment, took refuge behind the orders he had received and the exchange did not go any further.
Previously, he had returned to the circumstances of the tragedy, which occurred only four days after the beginning of the Russian offensive in the region of Soumy. The column of tanks in which he was, had been attacked and, with several soldiers, he had stolen a car to avoid being captured. We wanted to go back to where our army was positioned, in Russia, he explained. As we were driving, we saw a man talking on the phone. He said he was going to report us.
According to him, one of the other soldiers, whom he did not know, asked him to shoot. He told me in a firm tone to shoot, that if I didn't, we would be in danger, he said, though he admitted that the man was not his superior. I shot him at close range and it killed him.
The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine, on its website, said it has already opened more than 12,000 investigations for war crimes, while international institutions are conducting their own investigations into the abuses committed since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24. In addition to Vadim Chichimarine, two other Russian soldiers are being tried from Thursday by a Ukrainian court, for having launched rockets on civilian infrastructure in the Kharkiv region.