Head bowed, hair shaved, hands cuffed behind his back and dressed in gray joggers with a blue hood and blue sleeves, photos show the first Russian soldier to be tried in Ukraine for a war crime. The verdict is due on Monday.
On February 28, when the war of Russian aggression was only four days old, Vadim Sh., as he himself admits, shot dead a man, a civilian. Near his house in a small town called Chupakhivka in northeastern Ukraine. His name was Oleksandr Shelipova, according to Ukrainian media he was unarmed and 62 years old. The state indictment sees the offense of war crimes and murder accomplished. The case looks like a parable of the senseless cruelty of this war.
Vadim Sh., against whom the trial opened on Wednesday, is the first Russian soldier to be tried in kyiv. The Russian tank commander, a childish-faced non-commissioned officer, is 21 years old. According to Ukrainian media, he is from Siberia. He pleaded guilty early in the trial and asked the Chupakhivka man’s widow for forgiveness. But he understands if she can’t forgive him, he said.
He initially refused, says Sch. in class
They were on the road, he and four others in a stolen car, they had lost their unit, Wadim Sch. the tribunal. Fearing that the man from Tschupakhivka might draw the attention of the Ukrainian soldiers to them, they decided to kill him: “There was a man talking on the phone. Ensign M. ordered to shoot,” the soldier told the German press agency according to the court. After an initial refusal, he fired his assault rifle. According to a BBC report, he did not want to fire the fatal shots. But one of the other soldiers threatened him: “He said I would put us in danger if I didn’t. I fired point-blank. I killed him. The posture of the young man appears in some photos of the trial as if he were literally bent over in guilt.
Another Russian soldier present confirmed the testimony of Vadim Sh. Iwan M. was also sent to this war at the age of only 21. The BBC quoted his account of the situation as follows: “Vadim did not. Then the soldier, whose name I do not know, turned around and shouted that Vadim must carry out the order or he there would be consequences.” There, according to Iwan M., they were almost next to the civilian and were under pressure. “Vadim fired. He fired three or four rounds.” The victim’s wife, also present in court, said she heard the shots, saw her husband on the ground and Vadim Sh. with the gun in his hand.
Katerina Shelipova also had a question for the young soldier. “Tell me please, why did you come here? To protect us? From whom? Did you protect me from my husband, whom you killed? She didn’t get an answer.
The victim’s widow called for life imprisonment for the soldier, but also said, “If he is traded for one of our Mariupol defenders, then I’m not against it.” According to Russian information, more than 1,700 men surrendered from Azov steelworks to Mariupol and are now prisoners of war.
The lawyer asks for the acquittal. Ukraine provided the defender
The soldier’s defense attorney, Viktor Ovsyannikov, filed for an acquittal in court on Friday, the online newspaper reported. Mass. “He carried out an order, even though it was a criminal order,” the lawyer said. The soldier apparently received no help from the Russian side. His lawyer, the BBC reported, said no one on the Russian side had tried to contact him, not even the Moscow Defense Ministry. The Russian Embassy in Kyiv is closed anyway.
In his closing remarks, Wadim Sch. Mass According to: “I regret it. I regret it very much. I did not refuse and I am ready to accept all the measures that will be imposed.”
Unlike the 21-year-old, the Russian government categorically rejects allegations of war crimes and attacks on civilians. The Ukrainian side has so far assumed 11,000 possible war crimes.