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As the region's perennial conflicts burn on, other emerging trends and turns of events will grab our attention this year

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 89: First Russian Found Guilty Of War Crimes, Gets Life In Prison

Vadim Shishimarin had confessed to shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in northeast Ukraine shortly after the invasion began.

Vadim Shishimarin in court

Meike Eijsberg, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

On Monday, Vadim Shishimarin became the first Russian soldier to be convicted of war crimes since the Russian invasion three months ago, found guilty of shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in northeast Ukraine shortly after the invasion began.

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Shishimarin, 21, who confessed to the shooting and asked the victim’s wife for forgiveness, was sentenced by a Kyiv court to life in prison.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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