A Russian soldier will face a Kyiv court in what marks the first war crime trial since Ukraine’s invasion by Vladimir Putin.
Vadim Shysimarin, 21, will be accused of murdering an unarmed, 62-year-old civilian today (13 May).
Shysimarin was a commander of the Kantemirovskaya tank division and is accused of shooting dead a man riding a bicycle with an AK-74 rifle.
The Guardian has hailed the trial as a ‘watershed moment’ and notes that Shysimarin will take to the dock as the number of crimes registered by Ukraine’s general prosecutor surpasses 11,000.
The outlet also pointed to Unicef figures that report at least 100 children were killed amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in April alone.
Shysimarin, who remains in Ukrainian custody, is accused of firing at a civilian after his military vehicle convoy was attacked by Ukrainian forces on 28 February.
Trying to flee Ukrainian soldiers in the village of Chupakhivka, Shysimarin drove his car away. Four other soldiers were in the vehicle.
Prosecutors say Shysimarin was then ordered to ‘kill a civilian so he would not report them to Ukrainian defenders’ and opened fire on an unarmed man who was talking on the phone while riding a bike.
Shysimarin’s crime is said to have happened ‘dozens of metres’ from the victim’s home.
Upon the case’s court filing this week, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, said: “He is here [in Ukraine], we have him.”
A prosecutor’s office spokesperson added: “Prosecutors and investigators of the SBU [Ukrainian secret services] have collected enough evidence of his involvement in violation of the laws and customs of war combined with premeditated murder. For these actions, he faces 10 to 15 years in prison or life in prison.”
The Guardian notes that another case will likely follow Shysimarin’s, that of Mikhail Romanov, a Russian soldier accused of rape and murder.
Romanov is accused of breaking into a house in the Brovarsky region in March and murdering a man before raping his wife and ‘threatening her and her underage child with violence and weapon’.
It follows Finland’s announcement that it wants to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) as soon as possible in the wake of Russia’s aggression.
Finland's President and Prime Minister revealed they want their country to join the NATO military alliance 'without delay' and Sweden is expected to follow suit.
The Kremlin described Finland's bid to join NATO as a hostile move that 'definitely' poses a threat to Russian security.