Russian soldier found guilty, sentenced to life in jail, for Ukraine war crimes

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A court in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Monday ruled that a 21-year-old Russian soldier who admitted killing a civilian was guilty of war crimes. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

"The court has found that Shishimarin is guilty and sentences him to life imprisonment," the judge announced.

Vadim Shishimarin, a Russian sergeant, admitted killing 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov in the first days of the Kremlin's offensive in north-east Ukraine.

He was also found guilty of premeditated murder.

"The murder was committed with direct intent," the Ukrainian judge said.

"Shishimarin violated the laws and customs of war."

The Russian soldier told the court last week that he shot Shelipov under pressure from another soldier as they tried to retreat and escape back into Russia in a stolen car on 28 February, the fourth day of Moscow's invasion.

Shishimarin apologised and asked Shelipov's widow for forgiveness.

The Russian serviceman looked on from the glass defence box as the verdict was read out in Ukrainian. An interpreter translated for him into Russian.

Shishimarin's lawyer Viktor Ovsyannikov said he will appeal the verdict.

The Kremlin said before the sentencing on Monday that, while it was "concerned" over Shishimarin's fate, it was unable provide on-the-ground assistance because there is no Russian diplomatic presence in Ukraine.

"That doesn't mean we won't try through other channels. The fate of every Russian citizen is of paramount importance to us," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

The landmark ruling is expected to be followed by others, with Ukraine opening thousands of war crimes cases since Moscow's invasion.

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