Russian soldier begs his victim’s widow for forgiveness in war crime trial

·2-min read
Captured Russian soldier, Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, attends a court hearing in Kyiv, where he pleaded guilty to shooting a civilian  (Getty Images)
Captured Russian soldier, Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, attends a court hearing in Kyiv, where he pleaded guilty to shooting a civilian (Getty Images)

A Russian soldier facing the first war crimes trial since the invasion of Ukraine pleaded for his victim’s widow to forgive him.

The court in Kyiv heard that Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin was ordered to kill 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov by two seperate officers who said he could be using his mobile phone to pinpoint their location to the Ukrainian forces.

The 21-year-old sergeant could get life in prison if convicted of shooting the Ukrainian man in the head through an open car window in a village in the northeastern Sumy region on February 28, four days into the Russian invasion.

Captive Russian soldier Ivan Matysov (R) testifies on charges against Russian soldier, Vadim Shishimarin of war crimes for killing a civilian, at a courthouse in Kyiv on May 19, 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)
Captive Russian soldier Ivan Matysov (R) testifies on charges against Russian soldier, Vadim Shishimarin of war crimes for killing a civilian, at a courthouse in Kyiv on May 19, 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

The victim’s widow Kateryna Shelipova said her husband had gone to check what was going on when gunshots rang out outside their home.

When the shooting stopped, she walked out and found her husband dead just outside their home.

Sgt Shishimarin, who pleaded guilty to the charge, told her: “I realise that you can’t forgive me, but I’m pleading you for forgiveness.”

Mrs Shelipova told the court Shishimarin deserves a life sentence for killing her husband but added she wouldn’t mind if he was exchanged as part of a possible prisoner swap with Russia for the surrendered Ukrainian defenders of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

The prosecutor asked for a life sentence for Shishimarin and the trial adjourned until Friday.

Shishimarin, a captured member of a Russian tank unit, is being prosecuted under a section of the Ukrainian criminal code that addresses the laws and customs of war.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova previously said her office was readying war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offenses that included bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting.

As the inaugural war-crimes case in Ukraine, Shishimarin‘s prosecution was being watched closely.

Investigators have been collecting evidence of possible war crimes to bring before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

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