A court in the Poltava region sentenced two Russian soldiers, Alexander Bobykin and Alexander Ivanov, to 11 years and 6 months in prison, who shelled civilian areas of the Kharkiv region.
The military was found guilty of violating the laws and customs of war. The prosecutor’s office asked to sentence them to 12 years in prison – the heaviest possible punishment.
Both Russians served in the Murmansk region. Bobykin was the driver-loader of the Grad multiple launch rocket system, Ivanov was the gunner of the same combat vehicle.
In December, they were informed about alleged exercises on the territory of Belarus. In February, the Russians arrived in the city of Kursk, where they continued these exercises.
However, in the second half of February, they had already moved to the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine. There, the military learned from the command about the future war.
On February 23, Russian units built 6 Gradov at a distance of 4-6 kilometers from the border with Ukraine. At the same time, Bobykin and Ivanov knew that in such conditions the weapon would work indiscriminately and civilian objects could fall into the affected area.
On the morning of February 24, the Russians received the “fire” command from the commander, while no amendments were given to the military to adjust the fire.
After that, the invaders moved closer to the border and once again fired at Ukraine.
On the same day, the Russians crossed the border with Ukraine in the Kharkiv region, advanced, according to them, by 25-30 kilometers. Then Bobykin and Ivanov, along with other military men, fired volleys towards Kharkov.
As a result of these attacks, an electrical substation, overhead power lines, residential buildings, and a lyceum were damaged in two villages in the Kharkiv region.
On February 24, the column of invaders was defeated by Ukrainian defenders. After that, both defendants hid for 3 days and subsequently surrendered to the Ukrainian military.
Bobykin and Ivanov admitted their guilt in court and repented.
The defense said that the Russians allegedly acted under duress and service dependence. However, the court did not agree with this and did not see evidence that the military could not avoid criminal acts.