A Ukrainian court has sentenced a Russian man to life imprisonment in absentia. At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russian soldier Nikolai Sokovikov shot 12 times in the backs of two civilians during the occupation of the Kyiv region. Slidstvo.Info journalists called the wife of the Russian soldier. The woman claims that Ukrainian law enforcement officers confused her husband with another man.

This is reported in a video by Slidstvo.Info. The video has English subtitles.

On 19 March 2022, CCTV cameras recorded two Russians checking two civilians: car dealership owner Serhiy Muravitsky and security guard Leonid Plats. As soon as the Russians were convinced that the men posed no threat to them, they allowed them to leave.

However, as soon as the men had moved a few metres away, Russian soldier Nikolai Sokovikov and another soldier opened fire with assault rifles in the back of the civilians. The owner of the car dealership died on the spot, while Leonid Plats managed to reach the security room but died of blood loss.

From the page of the wife of war criminal Nikalai Sokovikov, Nelia, journalists found that the occupier returned home to Omsk after the war in Ukraine. The family goes to the seaside and travels frequently. The last such publication of a photo with Nikolai is dated 23 July 2023 on VKontakte. Sokovikov is sitting with his children by the lake, watching swans.


The Slidstvo.Info journalists managed to talk to the wife of the Russian occupier, Nelia Sokovikova.

Journalist: Nelia Olehivna, how do you feel about the fact that your husband, Nikolai Sokovikov, was given a life sentence in Ukraine? 

Nelia Sokovikova: I understood what you were saying because some kind of harassment started on the Internet. Let’s say I know where my husband is, where he has been from the very beginning, and what he is doing. I know this very well because we keep in touch. The people who were given the information found a similar person, apparently. They showed a farce and don’t care whether it’s him or not. I can’t even understand what exactly they are talking about. The most interesting thing is that my husband can’t understand what this is about. He has all the issues resolved in his service. That’s why I didn’t agree to be called now. Goodbye, I have nothing more to comment on.  

In the course of the investigation by the Kyiv Region Prosecutor’s Office, Sokovikov was identified in the surveillance video — which captured the moment of the civilian murder — by another Russian who had been captured by the Ukrainian military. The journalists of Slidstvo.Info were granted access to the expertise. 

With the help of artificial intelligence and portrait studies, there is confirmation that the man in the surveillance video and the one in Nelia’s photo are the same, that is, Sokovikov.

After talking to journalists, the wife of the occupier Sokovikov blocked the number of Slidstvo.Info in all messengers.

The material was prepared with the support of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the joint initiative “European Renaissance of Ukraine”. The material represents the position of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Union or the International Renaissance Foundation.

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