21-year-old Russian soldier sentenced to life in prison for killing Ukrainian man

Russian Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin listens to his translator during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, May 23, 2022. The court sentenced the 21-year-old soldier to life in prison on Monday for killing a Ukrainian civilian, in the first war crimes trial
(Image credit: Associated Press)

A 21-year-old Russian soldier has been sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty Monday of murdering an unarmed Ukrainian civilian, the result of Ukraine's first war crimes trial since Russia's invasion began, The Washington Post reports.

Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin pleaded guilty to killing a Ukrainian man in the northeastern Sumy area, but claimed he was simply following his orders. However, a judge found him guilty of "premeditated murder and violating 'the rules and customs of war' under Ukraine's criminal code," the Post writes. The crime is punishable by 10 years to life in prison.

"War crime trials are unusual while a conflict is ongoing," writes the Post, but investigators are collecting evidence in hopes of launching further war crimes prosecutions against Russia.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Officials say Shishimarin admitted to killing Oleksandr Shelipov, 62, at the beginning of the invasion in February. The man was pushing a bicycle towards the Chupakhivka village and died at the scene, said Ukraine's prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would explore all possible options to protect Shishimarin ahead of the verdict.

"Unfortunately, we are unable to defend his interests on the ground," said Peskov. "But this does not mean we will stop considering ways to continue our efforts through other channels."

Shishimarin's attorney reportedly plans to appeal the ruling. Read more at The Washington Post.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us