Updated to add Frolkin’s condemnation.
A Russian court has sentenced a soldier who admitted committing war crimes in Ukraine to 5.5 years probation, according to the Sibir.Realii news site. reported THURSDAY.
The court-martial of the Khabarovsk garrison in Russia’s Far East found Daniil Frolkin guilty of spreading so-called “false news” about Russian military activities in Ukraine.
The prosecution had requested a six-year prison sentence.
Frolkin is one of four Russian servicemen suspected of robbing, looting and killing civilians in the Ukrainian village of Andriivka who iStories identified last year using photos the soldiers took on a phone stolen from a resident.
Contacted by iStories, Frolkin confessed to the murder of an Andriivka resident identified as 47-year-old Ruslan Yaremchuk.
“I… Frolkin Daniil Andreevich, confess to all the crimes I committed in Andriivka. [I confess] shoot civilians, rob civilians, confiscate their phones and [confess] that our command does not care about our fighters, the entirety of the infantry fighting on the front line,” Frolkin told iStories reporters in a video call in August.
“I killed one. But I wanted to save so many people [as I could]said Frolkin, adding that he had decided to confess in order to save other fellow soldiers who are being sent to “slaughter” in Ukraine.
“[I will be jailed] not for what I did in Ukraine, but for all the information that I am going to give you. I just want to confess everything and explain what is happening in our country. I think it would be better if the war never started,” Frolkin told iStories in the video interview.
In Ukraine, Frolkin is wanted for violating the laws and customs of war and faces a life sentence if arrested there.
Located about 60 kilometers west of kyiv, Andriivka was occupied by Russian forces in the early days of the invasion in February.
At least 40 of Andriivka’s approximately 1,000 residents were killed during the Russian occupation that lasted until April, according the BBC.
The Russian Ministry of Defense had claims that “the civilian population is not in danger” as his troops invaded Ukraine.
Shortly after the war began, Russia passed laws that punish the sharing of information that contradicts the Kremlin’s account of its “special military operation” in Ukraine with up to 15 years in prison.