May 23, 2022

By Steve Kee

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A Ukrainian court has sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for killing a Ukrainian civilian.

It is the first conviction for war crimes since Russia’s invasion three months ago. The soldier, Vadim Shishimarin, had pleaded guilty and testified that he shot the man after being ordered to do so.

The sentencing came as the United Nations said the 3-month-old war has helped push the number of people displaced worldwide to the highest level on record level. More 100 million people have been driven from their homes across the globe.

Grinding battles in the Donbas, where Ukrainian and Russian forces are fighting town by town, have forced many civilians to flee their homes.

Meantime, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling for “maximum” sanctions against Russia during a virtual speech at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland.

He said Monday that sanctions need to go further to stop Russia’s aggression, including an oil embargo, blocking all of its banks and cutting off trade with Russia completely.

Zelenskyy also says Ukraine needs at least $5 billion per month. He said tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if Ukraine had “received 100% of our needs at once, back in February” in terms of weapons, funding, political support and sanctions against Russia.

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