(NEW YORK) — The first case against a member of the Russian military is set to go to trial on May 18. 21-year-old Russian serviceman Vadim Shishimarin is accused of killing an unarmed Ukrainian civilian in the Sumy region on Feb. 28, according to Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine’s prosecutor general.
The civilian was a resident of Chupakhivka who was riding a bike on the roadside when he was shot, Venediktova alleged.
Shishmarin is charged with murder and two counts of robbery. He surrendered to Ukrainian law enforcement on the same day and has been a prisoner of war since, Ukrainian prosecutor Andriy Syniuk said.
Shishmarin’s lawyer and a public defender, Viktor Ovsiannikov, refused to disclose his strategy, but said the fact the soldier was following orders does not legally constitute a defense. It’s up to the judges whether to take that under consideration.
The length of the trial will depend on how the defendant will plead, but the prosecution has sufficient proof regardless, Syniuk told ABC News.
Syniuk also said Shishmarin has cooperated throughout the investigation.
Shishimarin is the first member of the Russian military to be facing a criminal trial, Venediktova said in a post on Facebook.
Prosecutor Andriy Syniuk told ABC News that trying this case should set the standard and prove that Ukraine is a country with a rule of law and respect for human rights. He said this case is important and that more hearings will be starting soon.
Three other people are involved in these crimes, but Shishmarin is the only one facing charges for now, according to the prosecutor.
ABC News’ Tatiana Rymarenko contributed to this report.
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