Russia Ukraine War
Russian army Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is seen behind a glass during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, May 13, 2022. The trial of a Russian soldier accused of killing a Ukrainian civilian opened Friday, the first war crimes trial since Moscow's invasion of its neighbor. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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Ukraine opens first war crimes trial of captured Russian

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By OLEKSANDR STASHEVSKYI and DAVID KEYTON

Journalists packed a small courtroom in Kyiv for the trial of a captured Russian soldier accused of killing a Ukrainian civilian in the early days of the war — the first of dozens of war crimes cases that Ukraine's top prosecutor said her office is pursuing.

As the trial of 21-year-old Russian Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin got underway in the capital on Friday, Russian forces suffered heavy losses in a Ukrainian attack that destroyed a pontoon bridge they were using to try to cross a river in the east, Ukrainian and British officials said in another sign of Moscow's struggle to salvage a war gone awry.

Ukraine’s airborne command released photos and video of what it said was a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Siversky Donets River in Bilohorivka and at least 73 destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said Russia lost “significant armored maneuver elements" of at least one battalion tactical group in the attack. A Russian battalion tactical group consists of about 1,000 troops.

“Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine,” the ministry said in its daily intelligence update.

In other developments, a move by Finland and, potentially, Sweden to join NATO was thrown into question when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is “not of a favorable opinion” toward the idea. He accused Sweden and other Scandinavian countries of supporting Kurdish militants and others Turkey considers terrorists.

Erdogan did not say outright that he would block the two nations from joining NATO. But the military alliance makes its decisions by consensus, meaning that each of its 30 member countries has a veto over who can join.

An expansion of NATO would be a blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who undertook the war in what he said was a bid to thwart the alliance’s eastward advance. But in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, other countries along Russia’s flank fear they could be next.

With Russia’s offensive in the Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, seeming to turn increasingly into a grinding war of attrition and Ukraine pleading for more arms to fend off the better-equipped Russians, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief announced plans to give Kyiv an additional 500 million euros ($520 million) to buy heavy weapons.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov welcomed the heavy weapons making their way to the front lines but admitted there is no quick end to the war in sight.

“We are entering a new, long-term phase of the war,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Extremely difficult weeks await us. How many there will be? No one can say for sure.”

The battle for the Donbas has turned into a village-by-village, back-and-forth slog with no major breakthroughs on either side and little ground gained. In his nightly address Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said no one can predict how long the war will last but that his country's forces have been making progress, including retaking six Ukrainian towns or villages in the past day.

Fierce fighting has been taking place on the Siversky Donets River near the city of Severodonetsk, said Oleh Zhdanov, an independent Ukrainian military analyst. The Ukrainian military has launched counterattacks but has failed to halt Russia's advance, he said.

"The fate of a large portion of the Ukrainian army is being decided — there are about 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers,” he said.

The Ukrainian military chief for the Luhansk region of the Donbas said Friday that troops have taken nearly full control of Rubizhne, a city with a prewar population of around 55,000.

In the ruined southern port of Mariupol, Ukrainian fighters holed up in a steel plant faced continued Russian attacks on the last stronghold of resistance in the city. Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of Ukraine's Azov Regiment, said his troops will hold out “as long as they can" despite shortages of ammunition, food, water and medicine.

And in Kyiv, Ukrainian soldiers dressed in white protective suits loaded the bodies of Russian soldiers onto refrigerated train cars on Friday. The bodies were wrapped in white body bags and stacked several layers deep.

Col. Volodymyr Lyamzin, who supervised the operation, said several hundred bodies were being stored on the trains in the capital and that there were several other storage trains elsewhere in the country. He said Ukraine was ready to hand the bodies over to Russia, but so far there has been no agreement to do so.

In the first war crimes case brought to trial, Shyshimarin could get life in prison if convicted of shooting a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head through an open car window in a village in the northeastern Sumy region on Feb. 28, four days into the invasion.

The defendant, dressed in a blue and gray hoodie and gray sweatpants, sat in a small glass cage during the proceedings, which lasted about 15 minutes and will resume on Wednesday. The trial will be closely watched by international observers to make sure the trial is fair.

Shyshimarin was asked a series of questions, including whether he understood his rights and whether he wanted a jury trial. He declined the latter.

His Ukraine-assigned attorney, Victor Ovsyanikov, has acknowledged that the case against Shyshimarin is strong and has not indicated what the soldier’s defense will be.

Shyshimarin, a member of a tank unit that was captured by Ukrainian forces, admitted that he shot the civilian in a video posted by the Security Service of Ukraine, saying he was ordered to do so.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said she is readying war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offenses including bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting. She said two accused of bombing civilian infrastructure and residential buildings are in Ukrainian hands. It wasn't clear how many of the suspects would be tried in absentia.

Yesica Fisch in Bakhmut, Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Mstyslav Chernov in Kharkiv, Jari Tanner in Helsinki, Elena Becatoros in Odesa, and other AP staffers around the world contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


18 Comments

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Only way Putin will see justice is by the laws of nature,when he is dead

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Purple,he reaping,what he sowed,even though Ukraine has a corrupt judicial system

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

He said Ukraine was ready to hand the bodies over to Russia, but so far there has been no agreement to do so.

Of course Russia doesn’t want the bodies of their own soldiers back. They’re only so much worthless cannon fodder to them and a liability in their internal propaganda campaign.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

A show trial. I’m curious of the reasoning behind the guard covering his face. Doesn’t exactly shout “justice” does it?

can’t wait to read about all the corruption from this US proxy war in about 15 years.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

You can't hope for a fair trial.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

for some historical context, google “Volyn Massacre”.

Can I google a massacre 80 years before that one to give it some context, so about 160 years ago? How far back are you willing to go?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I stopped watching Ukraine news for one day, after using TOR, I found videos of what happens to captured Russian soldiers. There is a special place in hell for Azov, Right Sector, Aiden, and the others. And their western backers.

for some historical context, google “Volyn Massacre”.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

I feel sorry very sorry for this young man, I was in the military at his age and if was told to shoot by my elders 22 or 23n seasoned soldiers I too (ashamedly) would probably have done the same. Luckily my elders 23/24 had training and a concept of morals. Peer pressure can be overwhelming as a young person. Seems the Russian army is similar to the Lord's Revolutionary Army, use children!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Cricky......

The river may or may not have been crossed in any great numbers, after 3 attempts!, but the loss of so many troops, equipment makes it a hollow victory.

The crossing of a single river and destruction of a handful of tanks are both meaningless in the grand scale of things. Look at the map. One team is going forward to its objectives. The other has to result to posting dubiously edited videos of a few destroyed enemy tanks.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

The river may or may not have been crossed in any great numbers, after 3 attempts!, but the loss of so many troops, equipment makes it a hollow victory. Then if they did cross the river they have to get their logistics vehicles over it in a continuous flow. A challenge on its own as they don’t own the airspace and their logistics are woeful using paved roads.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Gods he looks like a child. What a damn waste. His life is basically over.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Shouldn't every single POW in every single war be charged with trespassing, carrying a firearm without a proper license and even attempted murder if they ever fired their weapon.

Is the Geneva convention even in force here, or is it not because Zelensky has not formally declared war against Russia.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

and two Russian-speaking British SAS chaps, who were busted somewhere they shouldn't have been.

The two captured in Mariupol? In Ukraine, defending Ukraine, at Ukraine’s invitation, and they “were busted” somewhere they shouldn’t have been? The only people who shouldn’t be there are the Russian invaders.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Sorry, Ukraine fans... Watch the full video with analysis and see that this news has been debunked. The river has been crossed and the Russian advance continues.

Where exactly does it say they were stopped?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It is the hope of myself and 99.9% of people around the world that Putin and his tribe be tried for war crimes against humanity ~ to place them all in the trash so that we can rid this plant of cancer we call Russia.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

It's all gone very quiet about the supposed capture by the DPR forces of high-ranking foreign military in Azovstal, foreign mercenaries in other areas and two Russian-speaking British SAS chaps, who were busted somewhere they shouldn't have been. The rumours were that they were being taken to Moscow for trial, but seem to have faded recently....

0 ( +8 / -8 )

The battle for the Donbas has turned into a village-by-village, back-and-forth slog with no major breakthroughs on either side and little ground gained.

Really? I think you will find that the Russian forces in the Donbas have been slowly moving in one direction... That is forward towards the borders of Donetsk and Luhansk.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Ukraine’s airborne command released photos and video of what it said was a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Siversky Donets River in Bilohorivka and at least 73 destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby.

Sorry, Ukraine fans... Watch the full video with analysis and see that this news has been debunked. The river has been crossed and the Russian advance continues.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

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