Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin, accused of war crimes, has pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed Ukrainian civilian


That First Russian soldier to be tried for war crimes in Ukraine on Wednesday pleaded guilty to shooting and killing an unarmed 62-year-old civilian. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, who was part of a Russian tank unit captured by Ukrainian forces in early March, just days after the war began, faces a possible life sentence.

Shishimarin appeared before a district court in Kyiv on Wednesday. At a preliminary hearing last week, prosecutors said Shishimarin was riding with other soldiers in a private vehicle they stole in an attempt to escape after their column was attacked by Ukrainian forces a few days after Russia’s February 28 invasion of Ukraine .

Russia-Ukraine War
Russian Army Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is seen behind a glass panel during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine May 18, 2022.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

They drove to the village of Chupakhivka, where they came across the victim, a 62-year-old man riding a bicycle and talking on his phone.

Prosecutors said Shishimarin was ordered to shoot the civilian to prevent him from telling Ukrainian defenders the whereabouts of the Russians. They said Shishimarin fired multiple shots from his open car window at the victim’s head, killing him instantly.

Ukrainian officials say the shooting was caught on video by the country’s state security service, but that video was not seen by CBS News.

Captured Russian soldier faces war crimes charges


“I was ordered to shoot,” Shishimarin said in a confession video shown by prosecutors last week, apparently edited by Ukrainian authorities. “I shot one (round) at him. He falls. And we kept going.”

Ukraine’s National Security Service called Shishimarin’s video statement “one of the first confessions by the enemy invaders.”

Ukraine, along with the US and others in the international community, has accused Russia of committing atrocities against civilians during its war against Ukraine and says it has identified over 10,000 possible war crimes.

Russia has denied attacking civilians and accused Ukraine of orchestrating atrocities.

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