Ukraine's First War Crimes Trial Against Russian Soldier Underway

This indicates that Ukraine will hold individual Russians accountable for the thousands of war crimes committed over the past three months.
Posted at 8:39 PM, May 13, 2022

A 21-year-old Russian tank unit soldier is the first to sit for a war crimes trial in Ukraine. 

He's accused of shooting a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head through an open car window while the man was riding a bike in the first days of the war. 

The killing allegedly was to prevent him from reporting the presence of Russian soldiers. 

The young man appeared in a hoodie, sweatpants with a shaved head inside a clear protective cage. 

A translator spoke to him through the divider.  

The court appearance Friday took just minutes. The judge asked him to confirm basic information, like his name and address. When asked if he understood his rights, he quietly responded "yes." 

His court-appointed attorney says he has no complaints about his treatment in custody so far. 

How he was captured remains unclear. 

"It demonstrates that Ukraine is going to defend itself in all reasonable ways," Former Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst said.

He said "There's no question the Kremlin is responsible for major war crimes" and expects more trials to come. 

"Genocide is a very awful, perhaps the most awful crime you can imagine," Herbst continued. "And I can understand why people are cautious before using that word. But the fact that, you know, noted experts in the field are pointed to things the Kremlin has done as saying this looks, beginning to look like, smells like genocide — means we have to take it seriously."