Ukraine to hold first war crimes trial of captured Russian soldier

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While war still rages in the east and south of Ukraine, the country’s top prosecutor on Wednesday disclosed plans for the first war crimes trial of a captured Russian soldier for killing a civilian.

Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said her office charged Sgt. Vadin Shyshimarin, 21, in the killing of an unarmed 62-year-old civilian who was gunned down while riding a bicycle on 28 February.

Shyshimarin, who served with a tank unit, was accused of firing through a car window on the man in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka. Venediktova said the soldier could get up to 15 years in prison. She did not say when the trial would start.

Venediktova’s office has said it has been investigating more than 10,700 alleged war crimes committed by Russian forces and has identified over 600 suspects.

Many of the alleged atrocities came to light last month after Moscow’s forces aborted their bid to capture Kyiv and withdrew from around the capital, exposing mass graves and streets and yards strewn with bodies in towns such as Bucha. Residents told of killings, burnings, rape, torture and dismemberment.

Volodymyr Yavorskyy of the Center for Civil Liberties said the Ukrainian human rights group will be closely following Shyshimarin’s trial to see if it is fair. “It’s very difficult to observe all the rules, norms and neutrality of the court proceedings in wartime,” he said.

On the economic front, Ukraine shut down a pipeline that carries Russian gas across the country to homes and industries in Western Europe, marking the first time since the start of the war that Kyiv disrupted the flow westward of one of Moscow’s most lucrative exports.

But the immediate effect is likely to be limited, in part because Russia can divert the gas to another pipeline and because Europe relies on a variety of suppliers.

Ukraine’s natural gas pipeline operator said it moved to stop the flow of Russian gas through a compressor station in part of eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed separatists because enemy forces were interfering with the station’s operation and siphoning off gas.

The hub handles about one-third of Russian gas passing through Ukraine to Western Europe. But analysts said much of the gas can be redirected through another pipeline from Russia that crosses Ukraine, and there were indications that was happening. In any case, Europe also gets natural gas from other pipelines and other countries.

It was not clear whether Russia would take any immediate hit, since it has long-term contracts and other ways of transporting gas.

Still, the cutoff underscored the broader risk to gas supplies from the war.

“Yesterday’s decision is a small preview of what might happen if gas installations are hit by live fire and face the risk of extended downtimes,” said gas analyst Zongqiang Luo at Rystad Energy. (Source: AP News)

 

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