Russian soldier pleads guilty at first war crimes trial in Ukraine; fall of Mariupol imminent: Live updates

  • In Business
  • 2022-05-18 17:26:58Z

A Russian sergeant pleaded guilty Wednesday at Ukraine's first war crimes trial to fatally shooting an unarmed civilian in the northeastern Sumy region four days after the invasion began.

Vadim Shishimarin, 21, could get life in prison for shooting the 62-year-old Ukrainian man. Shishimarin was among a group of Russian troops that fled Ukrainian forces on Feb. 28, prosecutors say. The Russians allegedly fired at a private car and seized the vehicle, then drove to Chupakhivka, a village about 200 miles east of Kyiv.

On the way, prosecutors say Russian soldiers saw a man walking on the sidewalk and talking on his phone. Shyshimarin was ordered to kill the man so he could not report them to Ukrainian military authorities. Who gave the order was not revealed.

"I was ordered to shoot," Shyshimarin told investigators on video. "I shot one (round) at him. He falls. And we kept on going."

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova previously said her office was readying war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offenses that included bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting.

USA TODAY ON TELEGRAM: Join our Russia-Ukraine war channel to receive the latest updates straight to your inbox

Latest developments:

►The European Union on Wednesday urged member countries to quickly replenish their depleted stocks of ammunition and military equipment to replace materiel sent to Ukraine. The EU's executive branch is offering $526 million over two years to countries willing to work in groups of at least three to replenish their stocks.

►The Kremlin may have agreed to a conditional surrender of the Azovstal steel mill defenders to hasten Russia's to declare full control of Mariupol, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest assessment. Russia may also be seeking to deflect criticism at home for the overall slow pace of the invasion, the institute said.

►The Russian parliament was scheduled to consider a resolution to ban the exchange of any Azov Regiment fighters but didn't take up the issue Wednesday.

►Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces fired missiles at the western Lviv region and the Sumy and Chernihiv regions in the northeast. He said the border regions of Ukraine saw Russian "sabotage activity."

EU plan would create energy independence from Russia by 2030

The European Union on Wednesday unveiled a $316 billion plan to become independent of Russian energy by 2030. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the plan will also save energy and phase out of fossil fuels. The plan calls for easing approval procedures for renewable energy projects and requiring solar panels some roofs among other things.

In the short term, conventional coal and nuclear power generation would be increased in the EU to ease the demand for Russian fuel. The EU government leaders agreed to set up a platform for the joint purchase of gas, liquified natural gas and hydrogen.

"We must now reduce as soon as possible our dependency on Russian fossil fuels," von der Leyen said.

Amnesty international: Red Cross should get access to Ukraine fighters

Ukraine's soldiers deployed in Mariupol have been "dehumanized" by Russian media and portrayed as "neo-Nazis" throughout the war, raising concerns over their fate as prisoners of war, Amnesty International said Wednesday. About 1,000 have surrendered since Monday, both sides say.

The advocacy group said it has documented summary killings of captives by Russia-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, as well as the extrajudicial executions of Ukrainian civilians by Russian forces in recent weeks.

"The soldiers who surrendered today must not meet the same fate," Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said in a statement. "Prisoners of war must not be subjected to any form of torture or ill-treatment, and should be given immediate access to the International Committee of the Red Cross."

Biden applauds NATO membership requests from Finland, Sweden

President Joe Biden expressed strong support for the "historic" applications from Finland and Sweden for membership in NATO. President of Finland Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson are both scheduled to visit Washington on Thursday, the White House said.

"NATO guarantees the security of 1 billion people in Europe and North America, united by our shared commitment to democratic principles and our vision of peace and prosperity in Europe and around the world," Biden said in a statement.

He added that NATO's all-for-one-and-one-for-all security commitment was " ironclad."

While the applications are being considered, the U.S. will work with both countries "to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression."

Turkey reveals demands for accepting Sweden, Finland into NATO

A pro-government Turkish newspaper lists 10 demands reportedly sought from Sweden and Finland before the Turkish government would approve their NATO membership. The list published by Sabah newspaper on Wednesday calls on the two countries to stop any financial support to groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party and Syrian Kurdish fighters. There are also demands that these countries halt contacts with members of the Syrian Kurdish group. Sabah said Turkey furthermore wants the two countries to "expedite" extradition proceedings for suspects wanted by Turkey on terror charges.

Russia said its military and political reactions to Sweden's decision will depend on "the deployment on Swedish territory of foreign military bases and offensive weapons systems."

Azovstal steel plant to be torn down; Mariupol's fall imminent

The iconic steel plant that served as the last holdout in Ukraine's ill-fated struggle to keep Russian troops from conquering the city will be torn down, a separatist leader said Tuesday.

Denis Pushilin, head of the Russia-backed Donetsk People's Republic, told the Donetsk News Agency the Azovstal plant - four square miles of bunkers, tunnels and industrial space - will be transformed into a park or a technology commercial park.

Pushilin said about 60% of all buildings in Mariupol have been destroyed. The ruined buildings will be demolished and replaced, he said, and the city will be rebuilt as a resort city with Russian aid.

The complete fall of Mariupol to the Russians appeared imminent early Wednesday. The Russian Defense Ministry said 959 holdout soldiers had surrendered since Monday. Pushilin, however, said top commanders in the plan had not yet emerged.

"No matter what emotions some people might feel, and I know that opinions differ, if the enemy laid down arms, his further fate is decided by a court," Pushilin said during his visit to Mariupol." If it's a (Nazi) criminal, it's a tribunal."

Finland, Sweden formally apply for NATO membership

Finland and Sweden have formally applied to join NATO, a move driven by security concerns over Russia's war in Ukraine. The application must now be weighed by the 30 member countries and all must agree for membership to be approved. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining. If those objections can be worked out, expedited membership could be granted within a few months.

"I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday after a receiving application letters from the two Nordic countries' ambassadors.

US pushing for regular contact with Brittney Griner, detained WNBA star

The U.S. has yet to establish regular contact with Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who has been detained in Russia for almost three months.

Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, has been detained - wrongfully, the Biden administration says - in Russia since February after marijuana was allegedly found in her luggage at a Moscow airport.

The 31-year-old faces drug smuggling charges that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Last week, her pre-trial detention in Russia was extended for a month - at that point, an American consular official was able to meet with Griner.

- Celina Tebor

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ukraine live updates: Mariupol fall imminent; Russian soldier pleads guilty


More Related News

On Independence Day, embrace traditional American values such as the free press | Opinion
On Independence Day, embrace traditional American values such as the free press | Opinion
  • World
  • 2022-06-28 18:43:36Z

Dictators like Vladimir Putin have destabilized and mislead their nations by cancelling the press and keep the truth from the public.

Putin's Crew Is Already Scheming to Exploit America's Abortion Chaos
  • World
  • 2022-06-28 18:12:47Z

GettyMost Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a recent poll that was conducted shortly after the...

Ukraine Latest: G-7 Leaders Aim to Squeeze Putin
Ukraine Latest: G-7 Leaders Aim to Squeeze Putin's Gas Revenue

(Bloomberg) -- Group of Seven nations moved forward with an ambition to limit President Vladimir Putin's energy revenue by curbing oil and gas prices, a day ...

Russia working on Taliban ties, Putin says in Tajikistan
Russia working on Taliban ties, Putin says in Tajikistan
  • US
  • 2022-06-28 16:32:56Z

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is trying to build relations with the Taliban and that Russia wants to see all the ethnic groups in Afghanistan take...

At least 18 dead in mall missile strike; Jill, Ashley Biden banned from Russia: Ukraine live updates
At least 18 dead in mall missile strike; Jill, Ashley Biden banned from Russia: Ukraine live updates

Russia said it added 25 people to the list of Americans banned from entering, including first lady Jill Biden and daughter Ashley.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Business