Ukraine war crimes trials: Two more Russian soldiers plead guilty

Ukraine war crimes trials: Two more Russian soldiers plead guilty

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Two Russian soldiers have pleaded guilty Thursday to shelling a town in eastern Ukraine in the country’s latest war crimes trial. 

The admissions come just days after a 21-year-old Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison for shooting a 62-year-old man in the head in the early days of the war. 

Prosecutors asked a district court Thursday to sentence Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov to 12 years each after the pair admitted to firing at targets in the Kharkiv region from the Belgorod border region in Russia, according to Reuters. 

The strikes reportedly destroyed an educational facility in the town of Derhachi. 

A firefighter works to extinguish a blaze after a Russian airstrike hit the House of Culture, which was used to distribute aid, in Derhachi, Ukraine, on May 13.

A firefighter works to extinguish a blaze after a Russian airstrike hit the House of Culture, which was used to distribute aid, in Derhachi, Ukraine, on May 13. (Reuters/Ricardo Moraes)

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Their defense lawyer though is asking for leniency, claiming the soldiers – one an artillery driver and the other a gunner – were just following military orders and have repented for their actions. 

“I am completely guilty of the crimes of which I am accused. We fired at Ukraine from Russia,” Bobikin told the court, according to Reuters. 

Russian army Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is seen behind a glass during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, May 18. He has been sentenced to life in prison for the killing of an unarmed civilian. 

Russian army Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is seen behind a glass during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, May 18. He has been sentenced to life in prison for the killing of an unarmed civilian.  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

“I repent and ask for a reduction in the sentence,” Ivanov reportedly added. 

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Vera Kosolopenko reacts outside her destroyed house in the village of Bezruky, near Derhachi, Ukraine, on May 14 after it was hit by Russian shelling.

Vera Kosolopenko reacts outside her destroyed house in the village of Bezruky, near Derhachi, Ukraine, on May 14 after it was hit by Russian shelling. (Reuters/Ricardo Moraes)

Both soldiers were captured after they crossed the border in Ukraine and continued shelling, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said. 

A verdict in the trial is expected by the end of May. 

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