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'I Just Do My Job': Ukrainian Lawyer Defending Russian Soldier

Viktor Ovsyannikov is defending a Russian soldier accused of firing shots at a civilian from a car on orders.

Published
World
1 min read
'I Just Do My Job': Ukrainian Lawyer Defending Russian Soldier
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"First of all, I am defending a person, not a crime," said Ukrainian lawyer Viktor Ovsyannikov who has been defending 21-year-old tank commander Vadim Shysimarin, a Russian soldier who has pled guilty to killing an unarmed Ukrainian civilian three months ago.

"I’m trying to prove that my defendant's actions were misqualified. It’s up to judges to decide. I just do my job," he was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Shishimarin's trial marks the first war crime trial in Ukraine since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has garnered widespread attention.

The soldier has been accused of firing shots at a civilian from a car on orders. When asked if he was obliged to follow the order that was tantamount to a war crime, Shishimarin replied in the negative.

Ovsyannikov asked judges in the Kyiv courtoom to acquit Shysimarin despite the latter pleading guilty, on the basis that he had executed an order.
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The Guardian report added that many people have asked him, "How can you defend a war criminal?"

"And I am so tired of explaining that, in Ukraine, only a court of law can recognise one as a criminal. And, as far as I know, there is no verdict for my defendant at the moment."

"My family, friends and colleagues support me," Ovsyannikov asserts. "They know someone has to do it. But there are other people who 'invited' me to go to Moscow or Donbas."

(With inputs from The Guardian)

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