A 21-year-old Russian soldier has pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed civilian, in the first war crimes trial in Ukraine since the war started.
Vadim Shishimarin admitted shooting a 62-year-old man a few days after the invasion began. He faces life in jail.
The prisoner was brought into the tiny Kyiv courtroom in handcuffs, flanked by heavily armed guards. He looked nervous, and kept his head bowed.
The widow of the man killed was sitting just a couple of metres from him.
She wiped tears from her eyes as the soldier entered court, then sat with hands clasped as the prosecutor set out his case, describing the moment Kateryna’s husband, Oleksandr Shelipov, was shot in the head.
“Do you accept your guilt?” the judge asked. “Yes,” Shishimarin replied.
“Yes,” he replied quietly from behind the glass of his grey metal-and-glass cage.
Prosecutors say Shishimarin was commanding a unit in a tank division when his convoy came under attack.
He and four other soldiers stole a car, and as they travelled near Chupakhivka, they encountered the 62-year-old on a bicycle, they said.
According to prosecutors, Shishimarin was ordered to kill the civilian and used a Kalashnikov assault rifle to do so.
The Kremlin said earlier it was not informed about the case.
Shishimarin’s trial was adjourned shortly after the civilian’s widow heard for the first time the Russian soldier admit to the murder. This high profile hearing will restart on Thursday in a larger courtroom.
Oleksandr’s widow told the BBC how she was coping, before she left the court for the day.
“I feel very sorry for him [Shishimarin],” she said. “But for a crime like that – I can’t forgive him.”
Ukraine has so far identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes committed by Russia.
The country’s chief prosecutor Iryna Venediktova tweeted: “By this first trial, we are sending a clear signal that every perpetrator, every person who ordered or assisted in the commission of crimes in Ukraine shall not avoid responsibility,”
Moscow has denied its troops have targeted civilians, but investigators have been collecting evidence of possible war crimes to bring before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
The ICC is sending a team of 42 investigators, forensics experts and support staff to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine has also set up a team to preserve evidence to enable future prosecutions.
Cost of living: Stock markets fall amid concern over rising prices
Stock markets in Asia and the US have fallen over concerns that rising prices could send the global economy into a slowdown.
US shares saw their biggest one-day drop since 2020 after downbeat earnings reports from some of America’s biggest retailers.
Target said unexpectedly high fuel and freight costs had cut into profits, which halved compared with a year ago.
That followed a similarly downbeat update from rival Walmart earlier.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index was 1.8% lower in Asia afternoon trade, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 2.3%.
That came after the S&P 500 index, which tracks shares of a wide swathe of America’s biggest companies, plunged more than 4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 3.5%.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 4.7%. The falls added to weeks of declines on US financial markets.
“What people are worried about after seeing Target is, will more earnings [estimates] have to be taken down?” said Thomas Hayes, chairman of Great Hill Capital in New York.
“Consumer sentiment is at multi-year lows and tied at the hip with inflation. So people are looking for signs of inflation moderating, and Target did not give them any today.”
Target’s update sent its shares plunging 25% – the biggest decline in more than three decades.
The announcements from Target and Walmart were closely watched for signs of how consumer spending is holding up in the world’s largest economy, as inflation reaches 40-year highs.
Official US government data recently showed retail sales rose a healthy 0.9% in April, but some analysts have warned the figures may be understating signs of slowdown – especially for lower-income families – since they are not adjusted for inflation.
Earlier this year, Amazon reported a surprise drop in online sales in the first three months of the year.
Target said sales at stores open for at least a year were up more than 3% in the three months to May compared to 2021. But executives said as prices rise, shoppers are spending more on essentials and cutting back on discretionary items, such as television sets and apparel.
It warned investors that costs would be $1bn higher than expected this year, driven by fuel and freight. The firm said it did not see supply chain pressures clearing until at least 2023.