I Sympathize

Ukraine is preparing to put a captured Russian soldier on trial for a variety of war crimes committed over the course of the Russian barbarian invasion of Ukraine, an invasion still in progress. The 21-yr-old soldier stands accused of

fir[ing] several shots from a Kalashnikov rifle at the head of an unarmed 62-year-old man, who died on the spot just a few dozen meters from his own home in the village of Chupakhivka in Ukraine’s Sumy region[.]

Ukraine Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova says the murder occurred on February 28. The soldier is a tank commander, which in the Russian army makes him a junior NCO.

The soldier absolutely stand trial for the crime, and I think the 10-15 years to life in prison should he be convicted is light. This is the sort of crime that should draw capital punishment.


It occurs to me that before those who are no more than foot soldiers are tried for the war crimes they’re accused of committing, their officers—who created the environment within which their subordinates felt free to commit these atrocities—should be tried for their complicity in war crimes.

Unfortunately and especially in the present case, where so many of the Russian barbarian officers have evaded capture (or those few of them remaining have been killed in action), it will be hard to bring the foot soldiers’ officers in, try them, and if convicted, execute them.

Put this 21-yr-old on trial, certainly. But be sure he’s being tried for what he did, and punished suitably for it if convicted; do not use him as a scapegoat for not being able to get at the officers who allowed, if not actively encouraged, these atrocities.

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