Russian soldier is first to admit war crimes after shooting man, 62, in the head

Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, the Russian tank commander on trial for war crimes in Ukraine, has sensationally pleaded guilty.

In a Kyiv court, Shishimarin was asked by a judge if he had a shot 62-year-old civilian in the head in the village of Chupakhivka during the opening days of the war.

The 21-year-old tank commander simply replied “yes”.

Shishimarin now faces life behind bars.

Ukraine's state prosecutor Andriy Synyuk told reporters as Shishimarin's trial opened: "This is the first case today. But soon there will be a lot of these cases."

Iryna Venediktova, the prosecutor general, added: "Shishimarin is actually physically in Ukraine. We are starting a trial not in absentia but rather directly with the person who killed a civilian, and this is a war crime."

Prosecutors said that Shishimarin had been ordered to kill the civilian to prevent him from revealing that Russian troops were in the area.

He admits that he fired several shots at the man with his Kalashnikov assault rifle through the open window of the car with an assault rifle, killing him instantly.

In a video released by the Security Service of Ukraine, Shishimarin admitted: “I was ordered to shoot.

“I shot one (bullet) at him. He falls. And we kept on going”.

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Shishimarin said that when his unit entered Ukraine, he was told that he and his comrades would be taking part in military exercises in southwestern Russia, some 200 miles from Ukraine.

After the armoured column he was travelling in came under fire from Ukrainian forces on February 28, Shishimarin and his crew commandeered a civilian’s car and drove to the village the east of Kyiv.

He was later captured while he was on a mission to return wounded Russian troops to home turf.

Another video clip released by Ukraine’s security services shows Shishimarin calling his dad and telling him “They treat us well here”.

Shishimarin’s father told Ukrainian interviewer Volodymyr Zolkin that his son was sent to war under false pretences: “He is just a soldier. I don't think he knew where he was going.

“You say he invaded, and we are told that they were defending the country. He didn't know. He was told to. You hear one thing and we another."

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