A BABY-faced Russian murderer was jailed for life yesterday for killing a Ukrainian grandad in cold blood.
Tank commander sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, 21, stood silently with his head bowed in a glass cage inside a Kyiv court as the sentence was passed.
It is Ukraine’s first war crimes trial since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the country.
Shishimarin shot dead 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov with his Kalashnikov rifle “while following orders” in the village of Chupakhivka in the north-eastern Sumy region four days into the war.
He opened fire when an officer warned the unarmed Ukrainian — who was speaking on his mobile phone — was about to give away their position.
Judge Serhiy Agafonov branded the command a “criminal order” by a soldier of higher rank.
He added: “The court has decided that Vadim Evgenyevich Shishimarin is guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. 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.”
The shaven-headed squaddie admitted his guilt and begged forgiveness from his victim’s widow, Kateryna Shelipova.
Kateryna refused to absolve the killer — but has said that she is open to seeing him swapped for a Ukrainian Azov Regiment fighter captured after the Mariupol steelworks siege.
Grieving Kateryna had confronted Shishimarin during the landmark trial, asking him: “Tell me, what did you feel when you killed my husband? Do you repent of this crime?”
He replied: “Yes. I admit guilt. I understand that you will not be able to forgive me. I ask for forgiveness.”
But the widow pressed on: “Tell me, please, why did you come here?
“To protect us? Protect us from whom? Did you protect me from my husband, whom you killed?”
The trial is the first of many planned as the number of war crimes reported across Ukraine topped 13,000 yesterday.
The killer’s lawyers announced after yesterday’s hearing that he was planning to launch an appeal against the sentence.