KIEV.– Ukraine began on Friday the trial of a Russian soldier accused of murdering a Ukrainian civilian, the first trial for war crimes in the country since Moscow invaded its neighbor.
Dozens of journalists packed the small courtroom in the Ukrainian capital, kyiv, where the accused appeared in a cramped glass cubicle at the start of a trial that has drawn international attention amid repeated accusations of atrocities committed by troops. russians
Sargeant Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, is accused of shooting a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head in the northeastern town of Chupakhivka.. He could be sentenced from 10 years to life.. The process will be carried out in open mode and the first session will begin on May 18.
The attack occurred in the first days of the war, when the tanks advancing on kyiv suffered an unexpected defeat and their occupants withdrew.
Shyshimarin, a member of a captured tank unit, admitted to shooting the civilian in a video released by the Ukrainian Security Service. “I was ordered to shoot”affirmed the soldier about the murder of February 28. “I shot him once. She fell and we kept going.”
Shyshimarin’s statement is “one of the first confessions of the enemy invaders”according to the security services of Ukraine.
The trial takes place while Ukraine’s Prosecutor General takes on a growing number of investigations into allegations of murder, torture and abuse of civilians by Russian forces.
Iryna Venediktova’s office said the prosecutor studies more than 10,700 possible war crimes involving more than 600 suspectsincluding soldiers and officials of the Moscow government.
Many of the alleged atrocities came to light last month after Moscow troops abandoned their attempt to take kyiv and withdrew from the outskirts of the capital, exposing mass graves and streets and patios strewn with corpses in towns like Bucha.
In turn, the UN Human Rights Council approved on Thursday a resolution to launch an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Russian troops in the kyiv area and other areasa measure that, according to Russia, amounts to a political reckoning.
The members approved by an overwhelming majority (33 in favor and two against China and Eritrea) a resolution to order a commission of inquiry to study the events that occurred in the regions around kyiv and other areas such as Sumy, which were temporarily occupied by Russian troops.
”The areas (…) that have been under Russian occupation at the end of February and March have suffered the most horrible violations of human rights on the European continent in decades”Ukraine’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova told the Council. As she spoke via video conference, she held up a drawing that she said had been drawn by an 11-year-old boy who was raped in front of her mother. “Actually, he lost the ability to speak afterwards and the only way to communicate is with black lines,” she claimed.
Reuters was unable to verify Dzhaparova’s account of what happened to the boy. A spokesman for the Russian diplomatic mission did not respond to a request for comment on her account.
Russia, which denies committing abuses in what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, vacated its seat on the Geneva-based council in protest. ”Instead of discussing the real causes that led to the crisis in this country and looking for ways to solve them, the ‘collective West’ is organizing another political routine to demonize Russia”Moscow’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, said in an emailed statement ahead of the vote.
AP and Reuters agencies