Faced with his actions. The first Russian soldier to be tried for a war crime in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on Thursday “asked for forgiveness” from the widow of the slain Ukrainian civilian, an AFP journalist noted during the hearing in a kyiv court. .

“I know you won’t be able to forgive me, but I beg your pardon,” 21-year-old non-commissioned officer Vadim Chichimarine said in an exchange with Katerina Chelipova, the widow of the 62-year-old. he admits killing in northeastern Ukraine on February 28.

On Wednesday, the young man had also pleaded guilty, thus acknowledging all the facts with which he is charged. This sergeant from Irkutsk, Siberia, faces life imprisonment for war crimes and premeditated murder.

“One of the soldiers ordered the accused to kill the civilian”

According to the prosecution, on February 28, Sergeant Vadim Chichimarine was commanding a small unit within a tank division when his convoy was attacked. With four other soldiers, he then stole a car. While driving near the village of Choupakhivka, in the Sumy region (northeast), they had come across a 62-year-old man, who was pushing his bicycle while on the phone.

“One of the soldiers ordered the accused to kill the civilian so that he would not denounce them”, according to the Ukrainian justice, which specifies that the man was “died on the spot”, a few tens of meters from his home.

In early May, the Ukrainian authorities announced his arrest without giving details, while publishing a video in which Vadim Chichimarine said he had come to fight in Ukraine to “support his mother financially”.