A Ukrainian court on Friday reduced to 15 years a life sentence handed to a Russian soldier in May for pre-meditated murder in the country’s first war crimes trial.
“According to the result of the appellate review, the appeal filed by the defence was partially satisfied,” a statement on the Kyiv court of appeals’ website said, adding that Russian soldier “Vadim Shishimarin was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment.”
Shishimarin, who was 21 at the time of the ruling in May, was found guilty of war crimes for killing an unarmed civilian and handed a life sentence, in the first verdict of its kind of Russia’s invasion. The sergeant from Siberia had admitted to killing a 62-year-old civilian, Oleksandr Shelipov, as he was riding his bike in the village of Chupakhivka in northeast Ukraine.
Shishimarin claimed he shot Shelipov under pressure from another soldier as they tried to retreat and escape back into Russia in a stolen car on February 28. His lawyer Viktor Ovsyannikov had vowed to appeal the verdict, arguing that “societal pressure” weighed on the decision.