First Russian soldier sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering civilian
23 May, 2022
Russian serviceman Vadim Shishimarin in court in Kyiv, May 18, 2022 Photo: AP Photo / Efrem Lukatsky

A court in Kyiv has issued the first sentence to a Russian service member for a crime against a civilian. 21-year-old sergeant Vadim Shishimarin was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a Sumy region resident, which was announced during the court hearing.

Shishimarin was found guilty of killing 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov and convicted of "violating the laws and customs of war." The Russian soldier can appeal the verdict.

The court concluded that Shishimarin acted with direct intent when he shot the civilian three of four times. One of the bullets hit the man in the head.

The court rejected arguments that the Russian invader allegedly accidentally hit the civilian, as well as arguments that Shishimarin did not shoot to kill a civilian, but to protect his life. The court stated that the deceased Shelipov did not pose a threat to the occupiers.

Shishimarin's repentance was not fully acknowledged. The only mitigating circumstance was that he cooperated with the investigation.

The prosecutor's office requested life imprisonment for Shishimarin, while his lawyer asked to acquit his client, as he was "carrying out an order".

Shishimarin admitted his guilt at the previous court hearing. The wife of the deceased civilian said she was expecting life imprisonment for the Russian, but did not object to exchanging him for defenders of Mariupol.


21-year-old Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin is the commander of the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division of the Moscow Region. He is accused of killing a civilian in the Sumy region, 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov.

According to the investigation, on February 28, 2022, Shishimarin killed Shelipov in the village of Chupakhivka, Sumy region. The deceased was riding a bicycle along the roadside.

Prior to that, the column, which included Shishimarin, was defeated by the Ukrainian army. While fleeing, he and four other occupiers fired at a private car and seized it. The Russian military drove into the village in a stolen car with punctured wheels.

According to the investigation, on the way they saw a man returning home and talking on the phone. One of the servicemen ordered the sergeant to kill a civilian so that he would not report them to the Armed Forces. He fired several shots through the open window of a car from a Kalashnikov assault rifle into the head of a 62-year-old victim. The man died on the spot just a few dozen meters from his home.