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War in Ukraine: what is blamed on the Russian soldier tried this Wednesday in kyiv

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A Russian soldier is on trial this Wednesday in kyiv. At 21, Vadim Chichimarine must appear before the Solomianski court. He faces life imprisonment for “war crimes and premeditated murder”. Europe 1 returns to what the Ukrainian justice accuses him of.

This is the first trial of its kind since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February. A Russian soldier is on trial this Wednesday in kyiv. The accused Vadim Chichimarine, 21, is due to appear in Solomianski court. He faces life imprisonment for “war crime and premeditated murder”, according to the terms of Ukrainian justice. What exactly is this man accused of?

The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office accuses him of having killed a 62-year-old man who was unarmed. The facts date back to February 28, near the village of Chupakhivka, in the northeast of the country. This Russian soldier was with four other soldiers in a car, a vehicle he had stolen after the attack on their convoy. One of them, from the window, opened fire, a priori without apparent reason, on this civilian, while he was riding his bicycle on the side of the road.

The soldier repented

This young Russian soldier is 21 years old. He is from Siberia and commanded a tank unit based in the Moscow region. Ukrainian television aired his face last Friday during his court fixation hearing. He arrived handcuffed, shaved head, dressed in a gray tracksuit.

The suspect told investigators that he came to fight in Ukraine to financially support his mother. He admitted being the author of the shot while claiming to have received the order to open fire. According to justice, the soldier repented and collaborated with the Ukrainian police, who gave no indication of the circumstances of his arrest.

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The trial will take place while the war is raging. “It will be a challenge for Ukrainian justice. It will be under the eyes of the international community and lawyers around the world,” says Emmanuel Daoud, criminal lawyer at the Paris Bar and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We must not bring a trial of intent against the Ukrainian justice. In any case, it will be very complicated to imagine that this trial will take place in all impartiality and serenity while crimes are still taking place on Ukrainian territory. But again, it will be up to the Ukrainian judges to demonstrate that this is possible,” he continues.

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A trial used for propaganda purposes?

This trial will therefore take place before the eyes of the whole world. But a risk remains: that this trial will be used for propaganda purposes. “Will the accused have access to the file? Will he have been able to prepare his defense?” asks the lawyer. “Will it be an exemplary trial or a trial for example?”

“For the first time in the history of criminal justice, evidence is being collected daily in real time on facts that are likely to qualify as war crimes, crimes against humanity and perhaps of the crime of genocide,” said Emmanuel Daoud. In all, 42 experts and investigators will soon be deployed across the country.

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