Amidst mounting evidence of Russian forces committing war crimes in Ukraine, two more Russian soldiers plead guilty in what is the second war crimes trial in the four months of fighting.

The Russian soldiers in question, Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov, pled guilty at their trial at a Kotelevska district court in Ukraine, with both of the soldiers being sentenced to 11 and 1/2 years for committing war crimes, specifically for “violating the laws and customs of war.”

The two soldiers admitted that they were part of an artillery unit that fired at the Kharkiv region from the nearby Belgorod region in Russia. Bobikin was reportedly a driver for the artillery system, and Ivanov was a gunner. The pair were captured after they crossed into Ukraine and were apprehended. The shelling reportedly destroyed many buildings, including a school found in the Ukrainian city of Derhachi. Despite the shelling, no casualties were reported in the shelling of the school.

Alexander Bobikin and gunner Alexander Ivanov in a reinforced glass box during their trial (WithUkraine 24/7). Source:
Alexander Bobikin and gunner Alexander Ivanov in a reinforced glass box during their trial (WithUkraine 24/7|Twitter)

“I am completely guilty of the crimes of which I am accused. We fired at Ukraine from Russia,” Bobikin said. Ivanov, on the other hand, said that he repented. Afterward, he asked for a reduction in his prison sentence.

During the trial, the two soldiers were confined to a reinforced glass box. Their defense lawyer asked the court for leniency as the two soldiers were allegedly just following the orders of their superiors and that they were extremely aware of the gravity of the things they had done.

This development comes after the first trial for war crimes concluded with 21-year-old Russian soldier Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin confessed to killing an unarmed civilian named Oleksandr Shelipov, a 62-year-old man. Shishimarin confessed to shooting the man as he was ordered to do so. Despite asking for forgiveness from Shelipov’s widow, he was not forgiven and was imposed a life sentence by Ukrainian Judge Serhiy Agafonov.

“Given that the crime committed is a crime against peace, security, humanity, and the international legal order… the court does not see the possibility of imposing a [shorter] sentence of imprisonment,” he said.

This also follows the first rape trial of the war, with Russian soldier Mikhail Romanov being charged with murder and rape as he allegedly killed a Ukrainian man and then raped the man’s wife. This case is also unique as Romanov is not in Ukrainian custody and will be tried in absentia.