A suspected Russian war criminal is on trial in Kyiv. The soldier has already admitted killing an unarmed civilian. Now the man’s widow had to look him in the eye – and asked for forgiveness.
In the first trial against a Russian soldier since the start of the Ukraine war, he asked for “forgiveness” in court. “I know you cannot forgive me, but I still ask for your forgiveness,” 21-year-old Vadim Shishimarin said at the hearing in Kyiv on Thursday to the wife of the 62-year-old civilian whose killing he had already confessed to.
On the second day of the trial, prosecutors asked for a life sentence for war crimes. Shishimarin is accused of shooting the unarmed man in a stolen car on February 28 in the northern Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka. When asked in court if he pleaded guilty, he replied “yes.”
The soldier from Irkutsk, Siberia faces the maximum sentence for war crimes and murder. After the prosecutor’s request, the hearing was adjourned on Thursday. The trial is scheduled to continue on Friday with the pleadings of Schischimarin’s lawyer.
According to Ukrainian investigators, the young man wanted to flee with four comrades in a stolen car after an attack on his convoy in northern Ukraine. The victim witnessed the theft of the car. Schischimarin confirmed this representation in court.
Another Russian soldier in the car, who was not his commander, “told me to shoot,” he described the course of events. “He started saying in an energetic tone that I should shoot (and) that I would create a danger if I didn’t.” He shot the 62-year-old at close range. “It killed him.”
The victim’s wife confronted the young man in court on Thursday. “Do you have any remorse for the crime you committed?” she asked him, and he asked for forgiveness.
“But why did you come here? To free us from what? What did my husband do to you?” She would not give up. Shishimarin referred to “orders” and did not answer further.
Ukraine has accused the Russian army of committing numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity since the invasion began on February 24. War crimes trials of two other Russian soldiers were scheduled to begin later Thursday. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is also investigating alleged international crimes.