Russian sentenced to life in Ukraine’s 1st war crimes trial

  • Undertakers lower the coffin of Ukrainian serviceman Oleksander Matyukhin, 32, on Monday in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

KYIV, Ukraine — A captured Russian soldier who pleaded guilty to killing a civilian was sentenced by a Ukrainian court Monday to life in prison — the maximum — amid signs the Kremlin may, in turn, put on trial some of the fighters who surrendered at Mariupol’s steelworks.

Meanwhile, in a rare public expression of opposition to the war from the ranks of the Russian elite, a veteran Kremlin diplomat resigned and sent a scathing letter to foreign colleagues in which he said of the invasion, “Never have I been so ashamed of my country as on Feb. 24.”

ADVERTISING


Also, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia in a video address to world leaders and executives at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He also revealed one of the deadliest single strikes of the war, a missile attack on a village near Kyiv that killed almost 90 people. And on the battlefield, heavy fighting raged in the Donbas in the east, where Moscow’s forces have stepped up their bombardment. Cities not under Russian control were constantly shelled, and one Ukrainian official said Russian forces targeted civilians trying to flee.

In the first of what could be a multitude of war crimes trials held by Ukraine, Russian Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, was sentenced for the killing of a 62-year-old man who was shot in the head in a village in the northeastern Sumy region in the opening days of the war.

Shishimarin, a member of a tank unit, had claimed he was following orders, and he apologized to the man’s widow in court.

His Ukraine-appointed defense attorney, Victor Ovsyanikov, argued his client had been unprepared for the “violent military confrontation” and mass casualties that Russian troops encountered when they invaded. He said he would appeal.

Ukrainian civil liberties advocate Volodymyr Yavorskyy said it was “an extremely harsh sentence for one murder during the war.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.