May 26, 2022 - World

Two Russian soldiers plead guilty in war crimes trial

A view of school destroyed after the Russian attacks in the village of Vilhivka, Kharkiv region, Ukraine on May 25, 2022.

A destroyed school after Russian attacks in the village of Vilhivka, Kharkiv region, Ukraine on May 25. Photo: Sofia Bobok/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Two Russian soldiers on Thursday pleaded guilty to war crimes in the second such trial of the unprovoked war in Ukraine.

Driving the news: State prosecutors asked for Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov to be jailed for 12 years for shelling a town in eastern Ukraine, a violation of the laws of war, Reuters reports.

  • The two captured Russian soldiers acknowledged that they were involved in shelling in the Kharkiv region, which destroyed an educational establishment in the town of Derhachi.
  • The defense lawyer asked for leniency for the soldiers, saying they were following orders.
  • "I am completely guilty of the crimes of which I am accused. We fired at Ukraine from Russia," Bobikin said in court proceedings, per Reuters.
  • "I repent and ask for a reduction in the sentence," Ivanov said.

The big picture: Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old Russian soldier, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday for committing war crimes during Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

  • Shishimarin was found guilty of firing several shots at and killing an unarmed resident in a Sumy village near the Russian border.
  • Shishimarin's trial is believed to be the first war crimes trial since Russia's invasion began in February.

What to watch: The final verdict is set to take place on May 31, per Reuters.

Go deeper ... What counts as a war crime and why they're so hard to prosecute

Go deeper