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Ukrainian soldier sentenced to life in prison

A staff sergeant from the notorious, neo-Nazi Azov Battalion has been sentenced to life in prison by the supreme court of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Maxim Kondrashev was convicted on Wednesday of killing four civilians as they attempted to flee the city of Mariupol last March.

He was found guilty of murdering two or more people, as well as the cruel treatment of civilians and the use of forbidden methods of warfare.  

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It was established during the trial that the soldier, along with several other troops, were standing guard at a crossroads in the vicinity of the Azovstal plant on March 2, 2022. Around 10pm, Kondrashev opened fire on a van after it failed to stop on his command. All four people inside the vehicle were killed as a result, three men and one woman.  

According to the prosecutor’s office, the Ukrainian staff sergeant “clearly saw that behind the wheel and inside this van were civilians wearing civilian clothes.”  

He was captured by Russian forces in mid-May of last year, court documents revealed.  

READ MORE: Five killed in Donbass shelling – officials

Late last year, Russia’s Investigative Committee accused the Ukrainian military of obstructing the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol at the height of fighting there, which reportedly resulted in more than 3,000 deaths.  

According to Russian authorities, Kiev’s forces did not allow people to leave the besieged port city through humanitarian corridors that had been provided by Moscow.  

Officials said at the time that criminal cases had been launched against multiple Ukrainian servicemembers and commanders, including General Valery Zaluzhny, the head of the country’s armed forces. 

Ukraine, in turn, has accused Russia of killing civilians by indiscriminately shelling and bombarding Mariupol.  

Fighting there broke out soon after Russian troops crossed the Ukrainian border in late February of last year. Kiev’s troops were holed up at the Azovstal industrial complex and agreed to surrender in mid-May.

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