Russian Soldier Confesses War Crime in Ukraine

Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin has pleaded guilty to a war crime before a Ukrainian court. The tank commander is the first Russian to stand trial in Ukraine for this.


Shishimarin is said to have shot and killed a 62-year-old man on a bicycle from a moving car on February 28, four days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. It happened in the village of Chupahivka, in the Sumi border region. The car was stolen by Russian soldiers fleeing the Ukrainian army. Another soldier has ordered Shishimarin to kill the man to prevent him from betraying their presence.

Shishimarin is 21 years old and comes from Siberian Irkutsk. In a video of the Ukrainian army, he says he is fighting in Ukraine to support his mother financially. Ukraine has no death penalty, but the soldier can get a life.

Ukrainian chief prosecutor Irina Venediktova says he is currently investigating 11,000 cases and has already identified 40 suspects. The trial of two Russian soldiers who allegedly fired missiles at civilian infrastructure in the Kharkiv region will begin on Thursday.

According to Venediktova, the trial of Shishimarin is of great symbolic importance. “It is a clear signal that the perpetrators of crimes in Ukraine will be held accountable.”

The Kremlin has said it has no information about the case and that it cannot provide support to Shishimarin because there is no longer a Russian diplomatic mission in Ukraine. Russia has previously denied that its soldiers are deliberately attacking civilians in Ukraine.

Ukraine has little experience with lawsuits like this. However, the country receives help from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity. The International Criminal Court (ICC) will also investigate the allegations.

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