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Russian sentenced to life in Ukraine’s first war crimes trial

KYIV, UKRAINE (AP) – A Ukrainian court sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison yesterday for killing a civilian, sealing the first conviction for war crimes since Moscow’s invasion three months ago.

Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin pleaded guilty to shooting a 62-year-old man in the head in a village in the northeastern Sumy region in the early days of the war.

He testified that he shot Oleksandr Shelipov after being ordered to do so. He told the court that an officer insisted that Shelipov, who was speaking on his cellphone, could pinpoint their location to Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating thousands of potential war crimes, as the world has pushed for Russia to be held accountable for its invasion.

Russian forces bombed a theatre where civilians were sheltering and struck a maternity hospital. In the wake of Moscow’s withdrawal from towns around Kyiv weeks ago, mass graves were discovered and streets were strewn with bodies in towns such as Bucha.

The war’s effects have also been felt well beyond Ukraine, pushing energy and food prices higher. The United Nations said the conflict has helped push the number of people displaced worldwide to the highest level on record level, with more 100 million people driven from their homes across the globe.

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