Ukraine appeals court reduces life sentence of Russian soldier tried for war crimes

A Kyiv appeals court Friday reduced the life sentence of Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old Russian soldier who was the first to be tried and convicted for war crimes following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Shishimarin’s life sentence was reduced to 15 years following an appeal from his lawyer, who said Shishimarin’s actions were misclassified.

Shishimarin, a commander of the 4th Kantemirovskaya Tank Division of the Moscow Region, was captured and brought to Ukrain for trial following the murder of unarmed 62-year old Oleksandr Shelipov in the Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka. The act occurred in the early days of the conflict, on February 28, and the Prosecutor General ‘s Office named him the first Russian military man to be tried for killing a civilian in Ukraine.

On appeal Shishimarin’s counsel argued that his actions were “incorrectly displayed in the court verdict…there were no grounds for qualifying his actions as a violation of the rights and customs of war.” The court of appeals reduced the life sentence previously imposed, saying it would provide the reasoning for its decision on August 3. Shishimarin’s lawyers continue to argue that he had not intended to kill Shelipov, and cooperated throughout the entire trial, even partially admitting to his guilt.

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