Almost three months after the start of the war in Ukraine, the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier began in Kyiv on Wednesday. 21-year-old Vadim Sch. pleaded guilty to shooting dead an unarmed civilian before a district court in the Ukrainian capital.
sh is accused of shooting dead an unarmed 62-year-old man from a stolen car in the northern Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka on February 28. The soldier faces a life sentence for war crimes and murder. According to Ukrainian authorities, he admitted to killing the man.
The young soldier with the shaved head looked down during the indictment. According to the information, the 21-year-old wanted to flee with four comrades in the stolen car after an attack on his convoy in northern Ukraine.
The victim was therefore on his bike not far from his house in Chupakhivka. According to prosecutors, the Russian soldier, on the orders of one of his comrades, shot the civilian with a Kalashnikov assault rifle because he had witnessed the theft of the car.
“I was ordered to shoot, I shot him once. He fell and we drove on,” Sch. explained in a video released by the Ukrainian authorities in early May. In the video, the 21-year-old also said he came to Ukraine to “support his mother financially”.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday it had no information on the case. “The possibilities of support are also very limited due to the lack of a diplomatic representation on site,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Sch’s lawyer described the process as a challenge. “This is the first case in Ukraine with such a charge. There is no relevant legal practice or judgments on such cases,” he said.