Russian Sniper on Trial in Kyiv

The soldier is accused of shooting a 54-year-old Ukrainian man dead.

Russian Sniper on Trial in Kyiv

The soldier is accused of shooting a 54-year-old Ukrainian man dead.

Oleh Iliin, who serves with the 15th separate Alexandria motorised rifle brigade, faces a term of imprisonment from 10 to 15 years or life if convicted.
Oleh Iliin, who serves with the 15th separate Alexandria motorised rifle brigade, faces a term of imprisonment from 10 to 15 years or life if convicted. © Security Service of Ukraine
Tuesday, 15 November, 2022

A Russian sniper is facing trial in absentia for the intentional murder of a civilian during the occupation of the village of Peremoha in the Kyiv region.

Oleh Iliin, who serves with the 15th separate Alexandria motorised rifle brigade, faces a term of imprisonment from 10 to 15 years or life if convicted.

According to the investigation, the 30-year-old lives in the Arkhangelsk district of the republic of Bashkortostan, in the village of Verkhniy Frolovskiy.

His military unit No 90600 - part of the 2nd Guards Combined Arms – is located in the settlement of Roschynskyi in the Volha district of Russia’s Samara region. 

The prosecution alleges that, Iliin committed a crime against peace, human security and international legal order between February 28 and March 1, 2022.

The investigation established that on February 24 2022, Iliin together with other military personnel of the 15th separate Alexandria motorised rifle brigade, illegally crossed the state border of Ukraine in the Sumy region.

On February 28 at approximately 5 pm, the accused, together with other Russian servicemen, entered and occupied the village of Peremoha in the Kyiv region from the direction of the village of Nova Basan, Chernihiv region. According to Ukrainian media reports, almost all the houses in Peremoha were subsequently either destroyed or looted. 

A 24-hour two-person combat guard, which changed every three hours, was organised at the sites of the Russian military deployment in Peremoha. 

Ilin, together with the sniper detachment and other military units, were stationed along Kyivska Street, near the Budmarket store and the Slavy park. The Russian military remained there until about March 10.

The investigation established that Iliin, at some point while on duty from approximately 6 pm on February 28 to 6 am on March 1, saw a 54-year-old Ukrainian civilian in the Slavy park near the World War II monument.

The prosecution emphasised that this man posed no danger to Russian servicemen. He was dressed in civilian clothes and was returning to home. According to the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, the civilian population and individual civilians enjoy general protection against dangers arising in connection with military operations. 

The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, should not be the target of attacks. Acts of violence or threats of violence with the main purpose of terrorizing the civilian population are prohibited.

While on duty near the Budmarket store, using a weapon not identified by the pre-trial investigation, Iliin shot the 54-year-old villager, who sustained serious injuries and died.

The case material noted that Iliin had decided to kill the Ukrainian man “for unspecified reasons” and despite being an experienced soldier “familiar with the laws and customs of war provided for and… realising that the specified civilian does not have weapons and does not pose any danger to servicemen of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine, the sniper was informed in absentia about the suspicion against him on the basis of evidence including witness testimony and identification from photographs. His case was brought to court in August.

During the pre-trial investigation, security service officials appealed to the court several times with requests that an investigating judge interrogate a Russian military officer as a witness. They asked to "record reliable testimony in the court session and use it as a strong piece of evidence during the pre-trial investigation" – presumably in the event the witness left Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange before the trial began.  

The request was granted and the interrogation of the witness was conducted in the Solomianskyi district court of Kyiv. Although no further information was available, the witness is likely to be a Russian soldier who was captured during the liberation of Peremoha. It is currently unknown whether He is in the territory of Ukraine or was indeed exchanged after interrogation.

On November 7, the Solomianskyi district court of Kyiv decided to publish a summons for Iliin to attend court. As part of the requirement for the absentee procedure, the summons will be published on the court’s website, by the office of the prosecutor general and in the government newspaper. After two or more summons, if the accused does not appear, the board of judges will be able to hold a preparatory meeting and proceed to consider the merits of the case.

A lawyer was appointed for Iliin, who at the meeting on November 7 did not object to the postponement of the preliminary hearing due to the need to publish an announcement about the court summons.

The next meeting in the case is scheduled for December 26 and it is likely that the panel of judges will begin considering Ilin's case in early 2023.

This publication was prepared under the “Ukraine Voices Project" implemented with the financial support of the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO).

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