(Kyiv) Ukraine will conduct the first war crimes trial linked to the Russian invasion, against a 21-year-old soldier accused of shooting an unarmed civilian, while Moscow claims that Kyiv bombarded a Russian city on Wednesday.
Vadim Shishimarin is accused of shooting a Kalashnikov through the window of a car he was traveling in to shoot an unarmed 62-year-old civilian, prosecutor Iryna Venediktova’s office said in a statement. .
The accused soldier was traveling with four other Russian servicemen after their convoy was attacked on February 28 and they stole a car near the village of Chupakhivka, the statement continued.
“One of the soldiers ordered the defendant to kill a civilian so he wouldn’t report them,” he added. The man, who has not been identified, “died on the spot, only a few dozen meters from his home”.
Vadim Shishimarin, detained, faces life imprisonment if convicted of war crimes and premeditated murder. The date of the trial has not been specified.
Russia has been repeatedly accused by Kyiv and Washington of committing war crimes in Ukraine since its offensive began on February 24. Investigations by the International Criminal Court and the Ukrainian authorities are ongoing.
A special session of the Human Rights Council is scheduled for Thursday in Geneva, convened at Kyiv’s request to address “the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine”. Russia, which became a simple observer after leaving this organization in April, decided not to participate.
Russia “is the most direct threat to the world order today with the barbaric war against Ukraine, and its disturbing pact with China,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday in Tokyo. after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida with European Council President Charles Michel.
The United Nations Security Council is also due to meet on Thursday, from 2 p.m. GMT, at the request of France and Mexico, to examine the situation in Ukraine.
In Vienna, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for maintaining contact with Russia to save lives in Ukraine and prepare for peace, even if no peaceful settlement is currently in sight.
On the ground, the fighting continues with the fear that the conflict will spread beyond the Ukrainian borders.
The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, Ukraine’s neighbor in southwestern Russia, claimed on Wednesday — citing a regional health ministry report — that shelling from Ukraine had killed one person and six injured.
In addition, Russia is also suspected of coveting Transdniestria, a separatist region of Moldova whose southern tip is only about sixty kilometers from the large Ukrainian city of Odessa, on the Black Sea.
In late April and early May, explosions shook Transdniestria. The European Union announced on May 4 that it would “significantly increase” its military aid to Moldova.
The Ukrainian command for the south stressed that the Russian troops were hitting “mercilessly” the region of Mykolaiv, the last lock before Odessa.
The Ukrainian chief of staff clarified on Wednesday evening that the Russians were continuing their operations in the east, in particular towards Slobozhansky and Donetsk – in particular Roubizhné and Lyman to take control -, but not towards Kharkiv near which the locality of Pytomnyk “was liberated” by Ukrainian fighters.
Kyiv was pleased to have pushed back the Russian forces which had been firing for weeks on the north-eastern districts of Kharkiv, the second largest city in the country, and to have taken over some small towns in this region very close to the Russian border.
On the other hand, the Kherson region – occupied by the Russians since the beginning of March – will ask to be annexed by Russia, one of its pro-Russian officials said on Wednesday.
“There will be a request (addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin) to integrate the Kherson region as a full subject of the Russian Federation,” said Kirill Stremoussov, deputy head of the administration of the coastal city of Kherson, the only major Ukrainian city over which the Russians have claimed full control in two and a half months of war in Ukraine.
“The legal basis […] will be ready before the end of the year,” he said.
And Russian forces are slowly gaining ground in the Donbass. The besieged twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lyssychansk in particular seem likely to fall at any time, AFP noted on Wednesday.
In Mariupol, if the hundreds of fighters who entrenched themselves there still hold the Azovstal steelworks, they are also constantly bombarded, according to Kyiv. This site represents the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in this strategic port city.
Mariupol 36th Marine Brigade Commander Sergei Volyna made a direct appeal to US billionaire Elon Musk: “People say you come from another planet to teach people to believe in the impossible. […] Where I live, it is almost impossible to survive.”
“Help us leave Azovstal for a third country. If not you, who else? Give me a lead,” the commander continued.
In his daily message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday evening that he had discussed with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz the need to tighten sanctions against Moscow.
“Little by little, we are doing everything so that the aggressor feels the greatest pain as a result of this aggression,” noted Mr. Zelensky. He had earlier called the Ukrainian struggle against Russia a “war against tyranny”.
He had pleaded again earlier on Wednesday for his country’s membership of the European Union, while French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Monday that it would take “decades”.
“It’s like a table where the whole family is gathered, and where you are invited, but you have not been given a chair,” lamented the Ukrainian president. “And I think that’s unfair. »
For now, the EU is trying to convince its 27 member states to adopt a plan to embargo Russian oil, blocked by Budapest.
For its part, Finland is considering joining NATO. President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin are due to give their position on Thursday on the Nordic country’s membership of the Atlantic Alliance, a prelude to possible membership.