Russian soldier shot civilians in the head

Von Inga Fresner

He’s sitting in a shop window, his hair has been shaved off, he’s wearing a blue and gray hoodie, and his eyes are downcast.

Vadim Shishimarin (21) is the first soldier of Kremlin dictator Vladimir Putin (69) to be tried in Ukraine for war crimes.

The allegation against him: Vadim allegedly shot a 62-year-old Ukrainian in the head through the open window of a car in the village of Chupakhivka (west of Kharkiv) in the early days of the war.

He was ordered to do so, according to a soldier from a Russian armored unit. Media interest is enormous. Many journalists and cameras crowd into the small hall of the Solomyansky District Court.

He faces life imprisonment.

Ukraine’s chief prosecutor, with the help of foreign experts, is investigating allegations that Russian forces violated Ukrainian and international law by killing, torturing and ill-treating thousands of Ukrainian civilians.

Brief hearing Friday

The judge asked Vadim Shishimarin to provide his name, address, marital status and other identifying details. He was also asked if he understood his rights.

Then, judges and lawyers met. After a short recess, the debates were adjourned. Next day of hearing: May 18.

Shishimarin’s lawyer, Victor Ovsyanikov, said the evidence against his client was overwhelming. However, they had not yet decided how they wanted to plead.

After Friday’s hearing, Ovsyannikov said he was hired to defend Shishimarin as a lawyer for the Free Legal Aid Center.

Attorney General Iryna Venediktova’s office said it was investigating more than 10,700 potential war crimes involving more than 600 suspects, including Russian soldiers and government officials.

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