Ukraine will symbolically bring the conflict to the legal field. A 21-year-old Russian soldier will be tried for a war crime in the first trial on this charge in the country invaded by Russia on February 24, the kyiv prosecutor general announced on Wednesday.

Vadim Shishimarin is accused of shooting a Kalashnikov through the window of a car he was traveling in, killing a 62-year-old civilian who was unarmed, prosecutor Iryna Venediktova’s office said, noting that acted to prevent the man from testifying in a car theft case.

Man killed near his home

The accused soldier was traveling with four other Russian soldiers after their convoy was attacked on February 28 and they stole a car near the village of Chupakhivka, the prosecutor’s office said, explaining that the civilian – who did not been identified – was riding a bicycle on the side of the road not far from his home when the theft occurred. “One of the soldiers ordered the accused to kill a civilian so that he would not denounce them”, noted the justice. “The man died on the spot, only a few tens of meters from his home”.

Vadim Shishimarin, detained, faces life imprisonment if convicted of war crimes and premeditated murder. The prosecutor’s office made public a photo of the accused but did not indicate the circumstances leading to his arrest, nor what happened to the other soldiers present at the time of the alleged events.

Russia has been repeatedly accused by kyiv and Washington of committing war crimes in Ukraine since the start of its offensive. The UK and the Netherlands have sent specialist war crimes investigators to assist local and International Criminal Court teams searching for possible mass crimes, including in the town of Boutcha near kyiv where at least 20 bodies were discovered on April 2.

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