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 New York Times†
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 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 320 kilometers east of kyiv.
There, the soldier was ordered to kill the civilian so he wouldn’t report them. He shot her in the head from the car window with a Kalashnikov, just a few dozen meters from her 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have made enormous efforts to collect evidence of possible war crimes in the areas from which Russian troops have withdrawn.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 the United Nations is sending more resources to Ukrainian authorities to investigate and prosecute the growing number of cases of rape committed by Russian soldiers.