Ukraine sentences two Russian soldiers in war crimes trial

STORY: A Ukrainian court has sentenced two captured Russian soldiers to 11 and a half years in jail, for shelling a town in eastern Ukraine.

It is the second war crimes verdict since the start of Russia’s invasion in February.

Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov, who both pleaded guilty last week, listened to the verdict at the Kotelevska district court in central Ukraine.

The pair acknowledged being part of an artillery unit that fired Grad missiles at targets in the Kharkiv region from Russia's Belgorod.

Prosecutors said the shelling destroyed an educational facility in the town of Derhachi, but caused no casualties.

Bobikin and Ivanov, described as an artillery driver and a gunner, were captured after crossing the border and continuing the shelling.

Prosecutors had asked for 12 years, but the defence asked for leniency, saying the soldiers had been following orders and repented.

After the verdict, the two were asked if they felt the sentence was fair. Both said yes.

On May 23, a Ukrainian court sentenced a Russian soldier to life in prison for killing an unarmed civilian.

Kyiv has accused Russia of atrocities and brutality against civilians during the invasion.

And says it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes.

Speaking in The Hague on Tuesday (May 31), Kyiv’s top prosecutor Iryna Venediktova said hundreds of individual suspects had also been identified.

"We have more than 600 suspects. Actually, it's a high level of top military, politicians and propaganda agents of (the) Russian Federation. When we speak about war crimes in Ukraine, you know we have nearly 80 suspects - people whom we identify as a war criminal and started to prosecute them."

Russia has denied targeting civilians or involvement in war crimes, while it carries out what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

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