Two of the detained Russian troops pleaded guilty on Thursday to bombing a town in eastern Ukraine in the second war crimes trial of the war.
During the trial in the Kotelevska district court in the central region of Ukraine, state prosecutors asked for Alexander Bobikin & Alexander Ivanov to be detained for 12 years for violating the laws of the war.
A defence lawyer asked for leniency, stating the two troops had been following orders & repented.
Bobikin and Ivanov, who stood in a toughened glass box, acknowledged being part of an artillery unit that were shot at targets in the Kharkiv region from the Belgorod region in Russia. The shelling has eliminated an educational establishment in the town of Derhachi, the prosecutors said.
The servicemen, described as an artillery driver and a gunner, were captured after crossing the border and continuing the shelling, the prosecutor general’s office said.
“I am completely guilty of the crimes of which I am accused. We fired at Ukraine from Russia,” Bobikin told the court in proceedings that were streamed live.
Asking not to be handed the maximum jail term, Ivanov said: “I repent and ask for a reduction in the sentence.”
The hearing lasted under an hour. The verdict is expected on May 31.
A Ukrainian court sentenced a Russian soldier to life in prison on Monday for killing an unarmed civilian. Russia said it had no details about the trial and that the absence of a diplomatic mission in Ukraine limited its ability to provide assistance.
Many more such trials are expected in both Ukraine and Russia, which has denied targeting civilians or involvement in war crimes.