KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – A Ukrainian court on Monday sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for sealing the first war crimes convict since the invasion of Moscow three months ago and killing a Ukrainian citizen.
Sergeant Vadim Shishimir pleaded guilty to beheading a Ukrainian citizen in a village in the northeastern Sumi region in the early days of the war..
He testified that he shot the person following the order. He told the court that the Ukrainian man, who spoke on his cell phone, insisted that Ukrainian forces be able to indicate their whereabouts.
With more than 100 million people worldwide evicted from their homes, according to the United Nations, the three-month war has helped push the number of displaced people worldwide to record highs.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia at the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
He said in the video that sanctions must be lifted to prevent Russia’s occupation, and that all its banks, including the oil embargo, be banned and trade with Russia completely cut off.
Zelenskyy says his country has slowed down Russian progress and that the courage of his people has stirred up the unseen unity of the democratic world.
On the battlefield, Russian forces have stepped up shelling in the eastern industrial hub of Ukraine, where they are stepping up their offensive in the region, which is now the center of the fighting.
Fighting in the Donbass, where Ukrainian and Russian forces are battling the city, forced many civilians to flee their homes.
In Tokyo on Monday, US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also joined in condemning the Moscow invasion of Ukraine. Earlier in his Asian tour, Biden signed into law Another $ 40 billion in US support for Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression.
Western support – financially and militarily – is crucial to Ukraine’s security, aiding their armed and innumerable forces in thwarting Russia’s attempt to seize the Kiev capital and paralyze them elsewhere. In the face of those setbacks, Moscow has outlined more limited targets in Ukraine, and its vision is to expand the territory held by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
Ukrainian forces dug around the main Ukrainian-controlled town of Sivrodonetsk in the Luhansk province of Donbass, and Russia intensified its efforts to capture it. Governor Sergei Haidai accused the Russians of “deliberately trying to destroy the city … engaging in a burned-out approach”.
Haidai said on Sunday that the Russians had raided several cities and towns in Luhansk, amassing 24-hour shelling and concentrating forces and weapons, bringing troops from Kharkiv to the northwest, Mariupol to the south and from inside Russia.
But the Ukrainian military said it had been defeated in an attack by Russian forces on Oleksandrivka, outside the village of Siverodonetsk.
Ukraine’s parliament on Sunday voted to extend martial law and mobilize its armed forces for a third time until August 23. Ukrainian officials have not said much about the level of casualties in their country since the start of the war, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky said on Sunday. Every day in the east 100 Ukrainian militants are killed.
Although the East is now the center of air travel, the conflict is not limited there. The city’s deputy mayor said he heard powerful explosions in Corroston, 160 kilometers (100 miles) west of Kay, early Monday morning. Ukrainian news agencies report that this is the third day of open attacks in the Zhytomyr district.
Becatoros report from Donetsk. Associated Press journalists in Lviv were joined by Yuras Karmanov, Andrea Rosa in Kharkiv and other AP staff from around the world.
Follow the AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine