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KYIV | The life sentence a Russian soldier was sentenced to in May for killing a civilian in Ukraine has been reduced to 15 years in prison on appeal, a Kyiv court announced on Friday.
“The appeal filed by the defense has been partially satisfied. The court's judgment (…) has been modified,” the Kyiv Court of Appeal said in a statement, adding that the new sentence was “15 years' imprisonment”.
Sergeant Vadim Chichimarine, 21, admitted to shooting dead Oleksandre Chelipov, a 62-year-old civilian, in the northeast of the country during the first days of the Russian army's invasion of Ukraine on February 24 .
Pleading guilty, he was sentenced on May 23 for war crimes and premeditated murder.
Vadim Chichimarine had declared in court that he had acted under pressure from another soldier as he attempted to flee to Russia in a stolen car with four other servicemen.
This soldier, originally from Irkutsk in Siberia, had “asked forgiveness” from Mr. Chelipov's widow during a brief exchange with her in the courtroom in Kyiv in May.
Russian forces are accused of war crimes and abuses by the Ukrainian authorities, in particular during their occupation of the vicinity of the capital from which they withdrew at the end of March.
They have also been accused by kyiv of arbitrary detention and torture in the territories they occupy in s southern Ukraine.