War crimes trial of Russian soldier accused of killing unarmed civilian begins

Latest political developments

  • Pending ratification, the EU plans to give Ukraine nearly 500 million euros to buy heavy weapons.

  • A day after Finland expressed interest in joining NATO, Sweden’s foreign minister said membership would have a stabilizing effect. Turkey, a NATO member, said it did not support the idea.

  • Pressure is mounting for Europe to source gas from outside Russia.

  • Ukraine has accused Russia of forcibly deporting more than 210,000 children since its invasion.

War Day 79 Terrain Updates

  • Ukrainian and British officials said Russia suffered heavy losses when Ukraine forces destroyed a pontoon bridge that enemy troops were using to try cross a river to the east.

  • Ukrainian officials said their forces damaged a Russian logistics vessel in the Black Sea.

  • Authorities said an attack on the outskirts of Kharkiv on Thursday killed at least two civilians and damaged a humanitarian aid unit, municipal offices and hospital facilities.

  • The governor of Belgorod, a Russian border region, said at least one civilian was killed and six others injured in Ukrainian shelling.

  • According to Ukrainian officials, an airstrike killed at least three people and injured 12 others in the Chernihiv region.

Russian soldier accused of killing civilian on bicycle

A man walks with a bicycle next to a truck carrying black bags with corpses of people killed during the war with Russia and exhumed from a mass grave for investigations in Bucha, on the outskirts of kyiv, on 11 april. (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press)

The war crimes trial of a captured Russian soldier accused of killing a 62-year-old unarmed civilian opened in kyiv on Friday.

sergeant. Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, is charged in the first war crimes trial since the start of the war.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office says the civilian was shot while riding a bicycle in February, four days after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Friday’s hearing in the Shyshimarin case was brief. A judge asked him if he understood his rights, and he quietly replied “yes” and if he wanted a jury trial, which he declined. The judges and lawyers discussed procedural matters before the judges left the courtroom, then returned to say the case would continue on May 18.

Shyshimarin, who served in a tank unit, is accused of shooting through a car window and shooting the man in the head in the northeast village of Chupakhivka. He faces life imprisonment under Ukrainian law.

Finland says to Russia: “You caused this”

A day after Finland’s leaders announced their support for NATO membership, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said joining the military defense pact would benefit countries bordering the Baltic Sea.

“Sweden’s membership in NATO would raise the threshold for military conflict and thus have a conflict-preventing effect in northern Europe,” Linde told reporters.

Finland’s president and prime minister announced on Thursday that the Nordic country should immediately apply for membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, founded in part to challenge the Soviet Union.

“You [Russia] caused this. Look at yourself in the mirror,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said.

WATCH | Finland will submit its application for NATO membership:

Finland to apply to join NATO

Finnish leaders have announced their intention to apply to join the NATO alliance following the war in Ukraine. It’s a move that would upend nearly 80 years of non-alignment.

Finland’s parliament has yet to weigh in, but the announcement means it is almost certain to apply – and be admitted. The process could take months.

Public opinion in both countries shifted dramatically in favor of NATO membership after the invasion, sparking fears in countries along Russia’s flank that they could be next. .

US President Joe Biden spoke with Finnish and Swedish leaders on Friday. The White House said in a statement that Biden “underlined his support for NATO’s open door policy and the right of Finland and Sweden to decide their own future, foreign policy and security arrangements”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, said on Friday that his country was “not in favor” of Finland and Sweden joining NATO, indicating that Turkey could use its NATO membership. Western military alliance to veto the admission of the two countries. He explained his opposition by citing the alleged support of Sweden and other Scandinavian countries for Kurdish and other militants whom Turkey considers terrorists.

NATO makes all its decisions by consensus, which means that each of the 30 member countries has a potential veto over who can join.

Moscow’s struggle to win decisive victories

Ukraine has driven Russian troops out of the city of Kharkiv in the fastest advance since Kremlin forces withdrew from Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and northeast more than a century ago. a month,

Southeast of Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials said they had prevented Russian forces from crossing the Siverskyi Donets River west of Severodonetsk by destroying a pontoon bridge.

Ukraine’s Airborne Command released photos and video of what it said was the damaged bridge and several destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby. The command said its troops “drowned the Russian occupiers”.

The UK Ministry of Defense said Russia lost “significant armored maneuver elements” of at least one battalion tactical group in this week’s attack.

“Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a very risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure on Russian commanders to advance their operations in eastern Ukraine,” the ministry said in its daily update. information.

School lessons held in a subway station

As Russian fighting and strikes persisted, teachers tried to restore some sense of normality after the war closed Ukrainian schools and devastated the lives of millions of children.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, they held classes wherever possible, including at a metro station used as a bomb shelter.

An elderly woman enters a metro station used as a bomb shelter in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Thursday. (Mstyslav Chernov/Associated Press)

“It helps to support them mentally. Because now there is a war, and many have lost their homes…some people’s parents are fighting now,” said teacher Valeriy Leiko. Partly because of the lessons, he says, “they feel someone loves them.”

Primary school-aged children joined Leiko around a table for history and art lessons in the subway station, which became home to many families and where the drawings of children now line the walls.

An older student, Anna Fedoryaka, was monitoring online lectures on Ukrainian literature given by Kharkiv professor Mykhailo Spodarets from her basement.

Internet connections were a problem, Fedoryaka said. And, “it’s hard to concentrate when you have to do your homework with explosions next to your window.”

On Thursday, associate professor of Ukrainian literature Mykhailo Spodarets gives an online lesson from the basement of his house, used as a temporary shelter, in Kharkiv. (Mstyslav Chernov/Associated Press)

Ukraine says it destroyed another ship

In other developments in the bitter war, Ukrainian officials said their forces shot down another Russian ship in the Black Sea.

The logistics ship Vsevolod Bobrov was badly damaged but it is not believed to have sunk when it was hit while trying to deliver an anti-aircraft system to Snake Island, said Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to the President of Ukraine .

A spokesman for the Odessa regional military administration said the ship caught fire after the strike. There has been no confirmation from Russia and no reports of casualties.

In April, the Ukrainian army sank the cruiser Moskva, flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. In March, he destroyed the landing ship Saratov.

This satellite image taken by Planet Labs PBC shows smoke rising after Ukrainian strikes destroyed buildings housing Russian positions and a helicopter on Snake Island in the Black Sea on Sunday. (Planet Labs PBC/Associated Press)