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The first Russian soldier to face a war crimes trial in Ukraine has asked the country for forgiveness after pleading guilty on Thursday.
Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is charged with the murder of a 62-year-old unarmed civilian on February 28, just four days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Shishimarin gave a detailed account of the shooting and the events leading up to it in court Thursday.
“I know you won’t be able to forgive me, but nevertheless I beg your pardon,” he said.
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Shishimarin confessed to firing his AK-47 through the open window of a stolen car, hitting Oleksandr Shelypov in the head and killing him.
Shelypov’s widow, Kateryna, traveled about five hours to kyiv to attend the trial, according to the Daily Mail.
“He should rot in jail and spend the rest of his days thinking about what he did,” she reportedly told the outlet. “I came to see him in person. He looked like a child, but he will still receive his punishment.”
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Shishimarin is one of many Russian soldiers that Ukraine expects to prosecute in the coming months. Ukrainian Attorney General Iryna Venediktova said her office is pursuing charges against 41 Russian soldiers accused of killing civilians, raping and others, according to The Associated Press.
Shishimarin faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.