2 Russian soldiers sentenced for war crimes in Ukraine

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May 31 (UPI) — A Ukrainian court on Tuesday sentenced two Russian soldiers to more than 11 years in prison each for war crimes related to shelling near Kharkiv.

The Kotelva district court found Aleksandr Bobikin, an artillery driver, and Aleksandr Ivanov, a gunner, guilty of violating the laws and customs of war, The Washington Post reported.

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They will each serve 11.5 years in prison, according to The New York Times.

“The guilt of Bobikin and Ivanov has been proven in full,” Judge Evhen Bolybok told the court.

Both men pleaded guilty to being part of a Russian military unit that shelled the town of Derhachi from across the border in Belgorod, Russia. They said the unit then entered Ukraine and carried out further attacks on the town before surrendering to Ukrainian forces.

Prosecutors said the shelling destroyed an educational facility and resulted in no casualties.

Tuesday’s ruling was the second war crimes verdict handed down in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion Feb. 24. Last week, a court sentenced Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin to life in prison for killing a 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian attempting to flee in the Sumy region.

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Ukrainian prosecutor Iryna Venediktova said there are about 11,000 investigations underway into possible war crimes committed since the start of the invasion. She announced earlier this week that the first war crime related to rape has gone to trial for Russian soldier Mikhail Romanov, who is also accused of killing the rape victim’s husband.