In the early hours of the war, journalists were cleaning a small courtroom in Kiev for the trial of a Russian soldier captured on charges of killing a Ukrainian civilian – Ukraine’s top prosecutor says it is the first of dozens of war crimes cases following his office.
As the trial of the 21-year-old Russian sergeant. As Vadim Shishimarin marches on the capital, Russian forces inflict extensive damage in a Ukrainian attack that destroyed a pontoon bridge they had previously used to try to cross a river, which Ukrainian and British officials say was distorted as another sign of Moscow’s struggle to save the war.
Ukraine’s air force command Belohorivkar Sivarsky has released photos and videos of a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Donets River and nearby Russian military vehicles destroyed or damaged.
Britain’s defense ministry said Russia had lost “significant armored tactical material” to at least one battalion strategic group in the attack. A Russian battalion strategic team consisting of about 1,000 troops.
“Conducting river crossings in a competitive environment is a highly risky strategy and speaks to the pressure of Russian commanders to advance their operations in eastern Ukraine,” the ministry said in its daily intelligence update.
In other developments, a move by Finland and, possibly, Sweden to join NATO was questioned when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was “not in a favorable view” of the idea. He has accused Sweden and other Scandinavian countries of supporting Kurdish militants, while others see Turkey as a terrorist state.
Erdogan did not say directly that he would prevent the two countries from joining NATO. But the military alliance made its decision unanimously, so each of its 30 member countries has a veto.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has waged a war to stop NATO’s eastward advance. Other countries bordering Russia are also worried that they could be the next one as a result of Ukraine’s aggression.
Meanwhile, Russia’s attack on Donbass, Ukraine’s eastern industrial hub, appears to be turning into a war of attrition.
Ukrainians are trying their best to drive out the Russians, but “no one can predict today how long this war will last,” its President Vladimir Zelensky said in a video address to the nation.
“It will depend, unfortunately, not only on our people, who are already giving their best,” he said. “It will depend on our partners, on the European countries, on the whole free world.”
As Ukraine requests more weapons to counter the well-equipped Russians, EU foreign policy chief Kiev has announced plans to pay an additional 500 million euros ($ 520 million) for the purchase of heavy weapons.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov welcomed the move to the front lines of heavy weapons, but said that a speedy end to the war was not in sight.
“We are entering a new, long-term phase of the war,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Extremely difficult week awaits us. How many will be there? No one can say for sure.”
The battle for Donbass has become a village-by-village, front-to-back slogan, and no major progress has been made on either side and little ground has been gained. Zelensky said Ukrainian forces were advancing, recapturing six Ukrainian towns or villages in the past day.
Ukraine’s independent military analyst Oleh Zhadanov says fighting is raging on the Sivarsky Donets River near the town of Severodonetsk, where Ukraine has launched a counter-attack but has failed to stop Russia’s advance.
“The fate of a large part of the Ukrainian army is being determined – there are about 40,000 Ukrainian troops there,” he said.
Ukraine’s military chief for the Luhansk region of Donbass said on Friday that the army had almost complete control over the war-torn city of Rubijn, with a population of about 55,000.
In the ruined southern port of Mariupol, Ukrainian fighters hiding in a steel plant faced constant Russian attacks on the last stronghold of the city’s resistance. Savitoslav Palamar, deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, said his troops would remain active “as long as they can” despite a shortage of ammunition, food, water and medicine.
And in Kiev, Ukrainian soldiers load the bodies of Russian soldiers in white protective suits into refrigerated train cars. The bodies were wrapped in white body bags and piled several layers deep.
Colonel Volodymyr Liamzin, who oversaw the operation, said hundreds of bodies were being stored on trains in the capital and on several storage trains elsewhere. He said Ukraine was ready to hand over the bodies to Russia, but no agreement had been reached.
Shishimarin could face life in prison if convicted of shooting a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head with an open car window in a village in the northeastern Sumi region on February 26, the first war crimes trial brought to justice. The day of the attack.
The defendant, wearing a blue and gray hoodie and gray sweatpants, sat in a small glass cage during the proceedings, which lasted about 15 minutes and will resume on Wednesday. The trial will be closely monitored by international observers to ensure fairness.
Shishimarin was asked a variety of questions, including whether he understood his rights and whether he wanted a jury trial. He rejected the latter.
His Ukraine-appointed attorney, Viktor Ovsyanikov, acknowledged that the case against Shishimarin was strong and did not say what his defense would be.
Shishimarin, a member of a tank unit captured by Ukrainian forces, admitted that he shot a civilian in a video posted by Ukraine’s security service and said he had been instructed to do so.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova says she is preparing war crimes charges against 41 Russian soldiers for crimes including bombings, killings, rapes and looting of civilian infrastructure. He said the two men accused of bombing civilian infrastructure and residential buildings were in Ukraine’s hands. It was not clear how many of the suspects would be tried in absentia.