Ukraine resists Russia’s invasion. Day 89: first sentence for Russian soldier, Zelenskyi in Davos, Ukraine’s membership – a win for NATO

First sentence imposed: Russian soldier sent to life in prison for killing civilian. The Solomyanskyi district court of Kyiv found Russian sergeant Vadim Shishimarin guilty in the killing of a civilian in Sumy region. He was sentenced to life in prison. Court announced the verdict on Monday, May 23. The trial that began on May 18 was open to the public. Shishimarin pleaded guilty. On May 20, he had the last word. “I would like to apologize once again for what I’ve done. I don’t deny that. I am ready to accept any measures imposed. (…) I sincerely repent. I was nervous the moment it happened. There was fighting. I didn’t want to kill. But it just happened. (…) I later realized that I’d better surrender,” Shishimarin said.

At Davos, Zelenskyi calls for maximum sanctions on Russia. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi called for an embargo on Russian oil and for sanctions on Russian banks and technology companies. “Don’t wait for the fatal attacks. Don’t wait until Russia uses special weapons – chemical, biological and, God forbid, nuclear. Do not give the aggressor an impression that the world will not demonstrate resistance. Protect freedom and peace in the world. The sanctions should be maximum so that Russia and every other potential aggressor who wants to wage a brutal war against its neighbor would clearly know the immediate consequences for their actions,” Zelenskyi said.

The Ukrainian President said Ukraine and the world are at a turning point. “That’s the moment that decides if brute force is to rule the world. If it reigns, our thoughts won’t matter. We may no longer convene in Davos. What for? Brute force just seeks to subdue whoever they want to,” Zelenskyi said.

Russia would not have begun an all-out invasion, had the West imposed preventive sanctions on Russia that Ukraine called for as Russia massed the troops at the border, Zelenskyi said.   

Zelenskyi offered companies that left the Russian market to continue operating in Ukraine and join post-war rebuilding efforts.

“The amount of work is huge. We have more than half a trillion dollars of losses and tens of thousands destroyed sites. We need to rebuild entire cities, entire industries. We offer a model of reconstruction that would make history. A partner country, city or company will take patronage over a particular region, city, community or industry in Ukraine. The U.K., Denmark, the European Union and other international actors have chosen to oversee a specific reconstruction target,” the President said.

The forum’s first in-person event returns after a two-year break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The forum has more than 2,500 participants. Economic consequences of the pandemic, and Russia’s war in Ukraine are high on the agenda.

Russia’s air strike on Desna, in Chernihiv region kills 87 people, not 11 as earlier said. Speaking at Davos, President Zelenskyi gave an updated casualty report on a Russian air strike against the Desna training center in Chernihiv region on May 17. Zelenskyi said he reads casualty reports each morning. 

“We’ve completed [search and rescue works] in Desna. There were 87 casualties [under the rubble], those were 87 lives. Future Ukraine will be without them. Our country takes big losses today. That reshapes it. It pays high price for freedom, independence, and the fight,” Zelenskyi said.  

Ukraine in Flames #74: Why NATO needs Ukraine

NATO membership has been declared a strategic goal of Ukraine, enshrined in the Constitution. Joining the alliance was difficult before Russia’s full-scale invasion, and since February 24, all of Ukraine’s efforts in this direction have been literally blocked. At the same time, for two months Ukraine has been demonstrating such a defense capability that any European country can envy it. Independent experts underline that taking into account the threat of Russian aggression to all Europe, it is obvious that NATO actually needs Ukraine. This is what experts will talk in Ukraine in Flames #74.


Eugene Czolij, President of the NGO “Ukraine-2050”, President of the Ukrainians World Congress (2008-2018)

Iuriy Oliinyk, PhD in Political Science, Head of Research Programs of «Ukrainian Studies of Strategic Disquisitions» Non-Governmental Analytical Center

Yurii Syrotiuk, Director, NAC «Ukrainian Studies of Strategic Disquisitions»

Viktor Tregubov, captain of The Ukrainian Armed Forces

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