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Ukraine opens first war crimes trial as Russian forces target oil refinery, medical facilities

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Ukraine opens first war crimes trial as Russian forces target oil refinery, medical facilities
Ukrainian civilians exit a van after being evacuated from Ryska Lozova near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on April 30. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

May 13 (UPI) -- Ukrainian prosecutors put a Russian soldier on trial Friday for killing a civilian early during Moscow's invasion, in the first war crimes trial of the conflict.

Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin was arrested and charged by prosecutors for the civilian's death, which occurred days after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. His trial began Friday.

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The prosecutor general's office accuses the 21-year-old Shishimarin of killing a 62-year-old man in Ukraine's Sumy region, located in the country's northeast, four days after the fighting began.

Officials say the man was attempting to flee when he was shot.

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"[We] have collected enough evidence of his involvement in violation of the laws and customs of war combined with premeditated murder," the office said, according to The Guardian.

More war crimes charges are expected. Several witnesses, including the United Nations' human rights chief, have said they have seen evidence of widespread war crimes in Ukraine over the past several weeks.

If convicted, Shishimarin faces up to life in prison.

The Rev. Andrii Gavalin presides over the funeral of a Ukrainian man who was killed by Russian forces in Bucha, Ukraine, on Tuesday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
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Meanwhile on Friday, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces hit the Kremenchug oil refinery in Dergachi, damaging production capacity. The officials said the strikes also damaged a humanitarian headquarters, the registry office, part of a clinic and an ambulance building.

Another Russian strike damaged a hangar in Shebelinka, killing several people and setting several trucks on fire.

Kyiv also said troops damaged a Russian navy logistic ship near the strategic Snake Island in the Black Sea -- and released footage of Ukrainian forces destroying Russian military vehicles and a pontoon bridge in eastern Ukraine.

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"Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine," Britain's Defense Ministry said in a tweet.

"Russian forces have failed to make any significant advances despite concentrating forces in this area after redrawing and redeploying units from the Kyiv and Chernihiv Oblasts."

In Mariupol, which has faced constant shelling, Ukrainian officials said Thursday talks are underway to get badly wounded fighters out of the Azovstal steel plant in exchange for Russian prisoners.

Ukrainian troops and civilians have been hunkered down at the plant for weeks while fending off Russian assaults. Most of the civilians have been evacuated from the facility, but some remain.

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Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk said negotiators are working on evacuating dozens of Ukrainian soldiers who are unable to walk out of the plant -- where food, water and medicine are in very short supply.

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