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The first Russian soldier to face a war crimes trial in Ukraine asked the country for forgiveness after pleading guilty on Thursday.
Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is accused of murder in the death of a 62-year-old unarmed civilian on Feb. 28, just four days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. Shishimarin delivered a detailed account of the shooting and the events leading up to it in court on Thursday.
“I know that you will not be able to forgive me, but nevertheless I ask you for forgiveness,” he said.
Russian army Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is seen behind a glass during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Shishimarin confessed to firing his AK-47 through the open window of a stolen car, striking Oleksandr Shelypov in the head and killing him.
Shelypov’s widow, Kateryna, traveled roughly five hours to Kyiv to see the trial, according to the Daily Mail.
“He should rot in jail, and spend the rest of his days thinking about what he has done,” she reportedly told the outlet. “I came to see him in person. He looked like a child, but nevertheless he will get his punishment.”
Shishimarin is one of many Russian soldiers who Ukraine expects to prosecute in the coming months. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has stated that her office is pursuing cases against 41 Russian soldiers on charges of killing civilians, rape and others, according to the Associated Press.
Shishimarin faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.