On Thursday, two Russian soldiers pleaded guilty to war crimes during the bombing of a city in eastern Ukraine, the second such trial for Russian soldiers since the invasion of Ukraine began in February last year.
Both Alexander Popikin and Alexander Ivanov admitted to fighting in a Russian artillery unit that fired on targets near Kharkiv, Ukraine, from Russia’s Belgorod region.
According to Ukrainian prosecutors, two soldiers were captured after crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border and completing a bombing raid that destroyed a training center in the town of Derchach.
Today’s hearing was held in Kotlevskaya, in central Ukraine. “I am completely guilty of the crimes I have been accused of. “We shot Ukraine from Russia,” he said.
Ivanov asked the court to reduce his sentence, saying: “I am sorry and I ask for the sentence to be reduced.”
Ukrainian prosecutors demanded that the defendants be sentenced to 12 years in prison for violating the laws of war, while a defense lawyer asked for clemency on the grounds that they were following orders from their superiors.
The final verdict on the two Russian soldiers will be announced on May 31.
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