war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Killers of young conscript Oleksandr Rybka sentenced


The 18-year-old conscript soldier died 20 days after being called up to do his military service. Two corporals were sentenced to 5 and 7 years imprisonment for beating him to death. The military court also awarded 200 thousand UAH in moral compensation to Oleksandr’s mother, compensation for expenses and 50 thousand moral compensation to his sister.

“When will you take me home, anywhere but here. Borrow some money, I’ll return it when I come. I don’t want to stay here. Try to do something”, Oleksandr wrote in a letter to his mother 10 days before he was kicked to death by the two corporals in the No. 169 Desna Infantry Training Centre in the Chernihiv region.  

After the conscripts had made their oath of allegiance, during the night from 26 to 27 November, one of the convicted corporals woke Oleksandr and demanded that he go with him, taking 50 UAH. Oleksandr said that his mother had sent only 70 and that he needed to pay for the photo album with his oath, however he took the money.

One of Oleksandr’s relatives asserts that the corporals were collecting money for officers as a present, while the investigators maintain that they wanted the money for themselves.

The corporal took him to the sports hall where he and the other convicted man took the money and then took turns kicking him.  One of them was on duty and therefore wearing heavy soldiers’ boots.

The two corporals beat eight other conscripts that night, taking between 30 and 50 UAH from them.  This apparently is an annual “initiative” of new soldiers.

Oleksandr Rybka died in the medical unit at six o’clock that morning of a ruptured liver and haemorrhaging.

One of the other conscripts who was brought to the trial with his unit said that since the tragedy new conscripts lived in separate quarters to avoid “didivshchyna” [bullying or hazing of more junior soldiers).

The judge said that the lesser of the two sentences had been because one had shown repentance and cooperated with the investigation.

The commander of the unit where Oleksandr Rybka served has been dismissed and stripped of his military honours.

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