Ukrainian woman confronts Russian soldier who killed her husband

A Ukrainian widow confronted the Russian soldier who murdered her husband in cold blood in the early days of the war, questioning the baby-faced 21-year-old soldier about the invasion and if he felt any remorse.

“Tell me, what did you feel when you killed my husband? Do you regret this crime?” Kateryna Shelipova demanded her as she looked directly at the sergeant. Vadim Shishimarin in a kyiv district court on Thursday.

It is the first war crimes trial since hostilities broke out.

“Yes. I admit my guilt,” Shishimarin told Shelipova. “I understand that you will not be able to forgive me. I ask for forgiveness.”

The woman continued to ask the Russian tank commander tough questions about the war and her role in it.

“Tell me, please, why [Russians] come here? To protect us? she asked. “Protect us from who? Did you protect me from my husband, whom you killed?

The young soldier then remained silent.

Shishimarin is accused of firing an assault rifle at Shelipov’s head from an open car window after receiving an order.
EPA/OLEG PETRASYUK

Shishimarin pleaded guilty the day before to the February 28 murder of Kateryna’s husband, a 62-year-old tractor operator named Oleksandr Shelipov.

Shelipov died in the village of Chupakhivka in northeastern Ukraine just four days after the war broke out on February 24.

His widow told the court that she heard gunshots from her patio and called her husband, who was unarmed and wearing civilian clothes. When Kateryna came out, Oleksandr was already dead.

katerina shelipova
Shelipova told the court that Shishimarin deserves life in prison for killing her husband.
SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

“I screamed so much,” Shelipova told the court. “He was my everything. He was my defender.”

Shishimarin is accused of firing several shots with an assault rifle at Shelipov’s head from an open car window after receiving an order.

Looking subdued, Shishimarin said he initially disobeyed his immediate commanding officer’s order to shoot the unarmed civilian, but had no choice but to follow the order when another officer forcefully repeated it.

katerina shelipova
Shelipova during the trial earlier in the week.
REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko
Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin
Shishimarin said he initially disobeyed his immediate commander’s order to shoot the unarmed civilian.
GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

Shishimarin told the court that the officer insisted that the Ukrainian man, who was talking on his cell phone, be able to pinpoint his location to Ukrainian forces.

The judges who oversaw the case began their deliberations on Friday and a verdict is expected on Monday, Shishimarin’s court-appointed lawyer Victor Ovsyanikov said.

Oysanikov on Friday urged the court to acquit his client, arguing that he was unprepared for the “violent military confrontation” and massive casualties at the start of the invasion.

“It is essential, Your Honor, in my opinion, to assess Shishimarin’s intentions as to what happened and the reasons why he was guided when he fired,” Ovsyanikov said. “Could any of the people here understand these circumstances in that situation?”

The Kremlin has said it has no information about the trial and that the absence of a diplomatic mission in Ukraine limits its ability to provide legal assistance.

Shelipova told the court that Shishimarin deserves life in prison for killing her husband, but added that she would not mind if he is traded as part of a possible prisoner swap with Russia for the surrendered Ukrainian defenders of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.

The prosecutor asked for a life sentence for Shishimarin.

Elsewhere during the months of conflict, Ukraine has accused Russia of atrocities and brutality against civilians and has identified what it says are more than 10,000 possible war crimes.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova earlier said her office was preparing war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for crimes that included bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting.

The International Criminal Court heads a team of prosecutors investigating allegations of war crimes in the country.

Russia has denied targeting civilians or involvement in any such crimes.

with post wires

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