Two captured Russian soldiers have pleaded guilty on Thursday to firing on a city in eastern Ukraine in a second war crimes trial.
During the trial in Kotelevskaya district court in central Ukraine, state prosecutors sentenced Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov to 12 years in prison for violating the laws of war.
A defense lawyer sought humility, saying the two soldiers were following orders and had repented.
Bobkin and Ivanov, who stood in a sturdy glass box, admitted to being part of an artillery unit that fired targets from the Belgorod region of Russia into the Kharkiv region. The shootings destroyed an educational institution in the town of Derhachi, prosecutors said.
The prosecutor general’s office said the soldiers, described as an artillery driver and a gunman, were arrested after crossing the border and continuing shelling.
“I am absolutely guilty of the crime for which I was charged. We fired from Russia into Ukraine,” Bobkin told the court.
Asking for a maximum sentence, Ivanov said: “I’m sorry to hear that.
The hearing lasted for an hour. The verdict will be announced on May 31.
A Ukrainian court has sentenced a Russian soldier to life in prison for killing an unarmed civilian. Russia has said it has no information about the trial and that the absence of a diplomatic mission in Ukraine has limited its ability to provide assistance.
Many more such trials are expected in both Ukraine and Russia, which have denied any involvement in targeting civilians or engaging in war crimes.
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