A 21-year-old Russian sergeant is the first member of the Russian armed forces to be prosecuted for war crimes since the invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian prosecutor general announced on Wednesday.
The man is suspected of shooting an unarmed civilian on a bicycle on February 28, four days after the Russian invasion. He left the 62-year-old victim dead on the side of the road.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has published the results of an investigation carried out by the Ukrainian security service.
The sergeant shot out of the car window with a Kalashnikov
The alleged sergeant and four other soldiers were fleeing Ukrainian troops on February 28. They stole a car at gunpoint and drove to Chupakhivka, a village in the Sumy region, about 200 miles east of kyiv.
There, the soldier was ordered to kill the civilian so he wouldn’t report them. He shot him in the head with a Kalashnikov rifle from the car window and killed him instantly, just a few dozen meters from his house.
The sergeant is in pre-trial detention in Ukraine. He faces ten to fifteen years in prison. It is not known how and when he was arrested. The date of the landmark trial is also unknown.
Investigators collect evidence of war crimes
Ukrainian and international investigators have made enormous efforts to collect evidence of possible war crimes in the areas from which Russian troops have withdrawn.
Hundreds of bodies have been recovered for forensic analysis and United Nations officials are sending more resources to Ukrainian authorities to help pursue growing reports of rapes by Russian soldiers.