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First Russian soldier suspected of murdering a civilian in Ukraine to face trial

Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova (Ksenia Svyatovets/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Ukrainian authorities are moving ahead with the first murder trial of a Russian soldier suspected of killing a Ukrainian civilian during Russia’s unprovoked invasion.

Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova said on Facebook on May 11 that the suspect was charged with the killing of a 62-year-old civilian who was riding a bicycle in the village of Chupakhivka in the northeastern region of Sumy.

“The Prosecutor-General’s Office sent to a court the case against Vadim Shishimarin, the commander of a unit of military brigade 32010, known as the Fourth Tank Kantemirov Division of the Moscow region,” Venediktova wrote.

According to Venediktova, the 21-year-old suspect, who is currently in Ukrainian custody, may face up to life in prison if convicted of murder.

Last week, Venediktova announced the name of the first Russian soldier suspected of torturing and murdering civilians in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, during weeks of occupation.

Venediktova identified this soldier as the commander of a unit of Russia’s National Guard, Sergei Kolotsei, who was officially informed that he is a suspect.

Last month, Venediktova identified 10 soldiers of the 64th Mechanized Infantry Brigade of the Russian armed forces, saying that they are suspected of “cruelty toward civilians and other war crimes,” adding that Ukrainian investigators continue to gather evidence and those named were just the first.

She also said at the time that investigations were under way to find out if the 10 Russians took part in the killing of civilians in Bucha.

The retreat of Russian forces from Bucha and other towns near Kyiv revealed harrowing evidence of brutal killings, torture, mass graves, and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians in the fighting, prompting calls from several countries, as well as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC), for investigations to determine whether war crimes were committed.

Ukraine’s National Police said on May 5 that, since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on February 24, more than 10,000 probes have been launched into war crimes allegedly committed by Russian troops in Ukraine.