War between Russia and Ukraine: Russian man sentenced to life imprisonment in Ukraine’s first war crimes trial

Kyiv, Ukraine — A Ukrainian court on Monday sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for killing a Ukrainian civilian, sealing the first war crimes conviction since the invasion of Moscow three months ago.

Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin pleaded guilty to shooting a Ukrainian civilian in the head in a village in the north-eastern Sumy region in the early days of the war.

He testified that he shot the man on orders. He told the court that an official had insisted that the Ukrainian, who was on his mobile phone, could pinpoint their whereabouts to Ukrainian forces.

The conviction came as the three-month-old war helped push the number of people displaced worldwide to record levels, with more than 100 million people displaced from their homes worldwide, according to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaking at the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia.

He said via video that sanctions would have to go further to stop Russia’s aggression, including an oil embargo, a blockade of all of its banks and a complete halt to trade with Russia.

Zelenskyy says his country slowed down the Russian advance and that the courage of his people brought about an invisible unity in the democratic world.

On the battlefield, Russian forces have increased shelling in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland as they press ahead with their offensive in the region that is now the focus of fighting.

Grueling battles in Donbass, where Ukrainian and Russian forces are battling city after city, have forced many civilians to flee their homes.

US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida jointly condemned Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on Monday in Tokyo. Earlier during his Asia trip, Biden signed legislation granting Ukraine an additional $40 billion in US support for its defense against the Russian attack.

Western support – both financial and military – has been key to Ukraine’s defense, helping its outgunned and outnumbered forces repel Russia’s attempt to capture the capital, Kyiv, and stall it elsewhere. Faced with these setbacks, Moscow has outlined more limited goals in Ukraine and is now seeking to expand the territory the Russian-backed separatists have held since 2014.

Ukrainian forces dug in around Sievierodonetsk, the Ukrainian-controlled capital in the Luhansk province of Donbass, as Russia stepped up efforts to capture it. Governor Serhiy Haidai accused the Russians of “simply deliberately trying to destroy the city…to engage in the scorched earth”.

Haidai said Sunday that the Russians had occupied several towns in Luhansk after 24-hour indiscriminate shelling and concentration of forces and weapons there, bringing in troops from Kharkiv in the northwest, Mariupol in the south and from inside Russia.

But the Ukrainian military said Russian forces were unsuccessful in their attack on Oleksandrivka, a village outside of Sievierodonetsk.

Ukraine’s parliament on Sunday voted to extend martial law and mobilize its armed forces for the third time, until August 23. Ukrainian officials have said little about the extent of their country’s casualties since the war began, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that 50 to 100 Ukrainian militants appear to have been killed in the east every day.

While the East is now the focus of the flight, the conflict is not limited to that. In Korosten, about 160 kilometers west of Kyiv, strong explosions were heard early Monday, the city’s deputy mayor said. It was the third straight day of apparent attacks in the Zhytomyr district, Ukrainian news agencies reported.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc7.com/ukraine-russia-war-crimes-prisoners-of/11884490/ War between Russia and Ukraine: Russian man sentenced to life imprisonment in Ukraine’s first war crimes trial

Laura Coffey

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