Ukraine charges a Russian soldier with war crimes
The first war crimes trial since Moscow’s invasion of its neighbour began on Friday, with a Russian soldier accused of killing a Ukrainian citizen.
Hundreds of journalists crammed into a small courtroom in Kiev, where the suspect appeared in a small glass cage for the opening of a trial that has attracted international attention due to allegations of Russian soldiers committing repeated atrocities.
In the northeastern village of Chupakhivka, Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, is suspected of shooting a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head. He could spend the rest of his life in prison.
When Russian tanks moving on Kyiv were suddenly routed and tank crews retreated, the killing occurred early in the battle.
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In a video released by Ukraine’s Security Service, Shyshimarin, a member of a tank unit captured by Ukrainian forces, admits to shooting the civilian.
Of the killing on February 28, Shyshimarin said, “I was commanded to shoot.” I fired a (round) at him. He falls. We kept moving forward.
According to the Ukrainian security service, Shyshimarin’s video statement is one of the earliest confessions of the enemy invaders.
The trial takes place as Russia’s effort to conquer Ukraine’s east continues to progress, but the invasion has had far-reaching consequences beyond the battlefield.
Finland’s president and prime minister announced Thursday that the Nordic country should apply for membership in NATO, the military security agreement formed in part to oppose the Soviet Union, two and a half months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent shivers through Moscow’s neighbours.
You (Russia) are to blame. President Sauli Niinisto of Finland said, “Look in the mirror.”
Although Finland’s Parliament must still weigh in, the announcement ensures that the country will apply and be admitted. The entire procedure might take months. Sweden is also considering joining NATO’s protection force.
This would be a significant shift in Europe’s security landscape: Sweden has avoided military alliances for over 200 years, whereas Finland declared neutrality following World War II defeat by the Soviets.
The Kremlin has warned that retaliatory military-technical measures may be taken.
Following the invasion, public opinion in both countries moved substantially in favour of NATO membership, raising fears that countries on Russia’s flank could be next.
Russia would be encircled by NATO countries in the Baltic Sea and the Arctic if the alliance expanded, which would be a major blow for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He hoped to split NATO and roll it back in Europe, but the opposite is happening.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that Finland and Sweden would be warmly welcomed into the alliance.
The provision of weaponry and other military aid to Ukraine by NATO has been vital to Kyiv’s surprising ability to thwart the invasion, and the Kremlin has once again warned that the aid could lead to direct conflict between NATO and Russia.
“There is always the risk of a full-scale nuclear war, which would be disastrous for everyone,” said Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s deputy Security Council chairman.
On the ground, the British Defense Ministry said Friday that despite concentrating resources in the Donbas after withdrawing troops from other locations, Russia has made no substantial advances.
According to British military officials, Russia lost large parts of at least one battalion tactical group, totaling roughly 1,000 troops and equipment, while attempting to cross the Siverskyi Donets River west of Severodonetsk.
Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a very risky tactic, according to the ministry’s daily intelligence update, and reflects the pressure Russian commanders are facing to make headway in their operations in eastern Ukraine.
Teachers were attempting to restore some semblance of normalcy after the war closed Ukraine’s schools and ruined the lives of millions of children while fighting and Russian strikes continued. Lessons are being offered in a subway station repurposed as a bomb shelter in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, that has become home to numerous families.
It aids in their mental well-being. Because there is a war now, and many people have lost their houses… some people’s parents are now fighting, said Valeriy Leiko, a teacher. He claims that it is in part because of the lessons that they feel loved.
In the subway station, where children’s artwork now lines the walls, primary school-aged youngsters joined Leiko around a table for history and art classes.
Anna Fedoryaka, an older student, was watching online lectures on Ukrainian literature delivered by Kharkiv professor Mykhailo Spodarets from his basement.
Fedoryaka stated that internet connections were a difficulty. It’s also difficult to concentrate on homework when there are explosions outside your window.”
Authorities say at least two civilians were killed on the outskirts of Kharkiv on Thursday. According to Vyacheslav Zadorenko, mayor of the suburban town of Derhachi, the attacks also destroyed a building containing a humanitarian aid unit, municipal offices, and hospital facilities.
According to Zadorenko, none of the sites had anything to do with military infrastructure.
In other news, Ukrainian officials claimed that their forces destroyed another Russian ship in the Black Sea, though Russia has not confirmed this and no casualties have been reported.