Both men pleaded guilty last week to ‘violating the laws and customs of war’ (Picture: AFP/AP/Reuters)

Russian fighters on trial for war crimes have branded Vladimir Putin’s offensive in Ukraine a ‘failure.’

Alexander Bobikin, 26, and Alexander Ivanov, 21, sat emotionless as they were each handed a 12 year jail sentence yesterday.

The soldiers had been captured and brought to court over the shelling of a civilian area in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine.

Judge Evhen Bolybok said their guilt had ‘been proven in full.’

More than 38 missiles had been fired at a civilian area and a school destroyed by the unit they were part of.

Bobikin, an artillery driver and Ivanov, a gunner, had claimed they had simply been following orders.

Speaking to the Sun at the end of the court session, Bobykin said he wished ‘the bloody conflict would end’ and described the war operation as a ‘failure.’

The 26-year-old told the newspaper: ‘I want to change to the Ukraine military.

Russian soldiers Alexander Ivanov and Alexander Bobikin now face 12 years in prison (Picture: AP)

They claimed they were just following orders during the trial at Kotelevsky District Court (Picture: AP)

‘Putin should stop the war now. It is a mistake. The war is a failure.

‘I’m satisfied with my conditions in prison. My family know I am here. I have changed my mind about what I did. My verdict is true.’

The Sun then asked if Putin’s entire offensive in Ukraine had been a failure, and the soldier replied ‘yes.’

Bobikin and Ivanov had been captured by Ukrainian forces after crossing the Russian border.

Both men pleaded guilty last week to ‘violating the laws and customs of war’.

‘The war is a failure’ said 26-year-old Bobikin, before he was taken away in handcuffs (Picture: AP)

The pair had been captured after crossing the Russian border into Ukraine (Picture: AP)

Authorities in Ukraine are currently investigating thousands of potential war crimes with further trials on the horizon.

President Volodymyr Zelensky previously urged for as many people to be held accountable as possible for atrocities committed during the war.

He said ‘prosecution of all Russian war criminals’ was a vital step the world could come together to support.

He added trials were needed ‘in the Ukrainian courts, in the international tribunal and just on the battlefield while the war continues’.

Putin and his Russian troops have repeatedly denied targeting civilians or having any involvement in war crimes.

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Speaking in relation to the sentencing of Bobikin and Ivanov, a legal source yesterday told the Sun ‘This sends out a tough message that we are thoroughly investigating the barbaric acts the Russians are responsible for.

‘Their soldiers have committed shellings, murders and rapes and thought they would get away with it.

‘The truth is they won’t.

‘We have intense and forensic investigations in place in order to bring them to justice so they face the consequences of their actions.’

Yesterday’s sentencing of Bobikin and Ivanov is the second verdict in war crimes trials held so far since the war broke out.

Further war crime trials will force Russian to ‘face the consequences’ of their actions (Picture: AP)

Vadim Shishimarin was recently sentenced to life in jail after killing a civilian (Picture: Getty Images)

Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, 21, was previously on trial for shooting an unarmed civilian with a Kalashnikov assault rifle through an open car window.

He had been fleeing the village of Chupakhivka with four other soldiers in a stolen car, after they were targeted by Ukrainian forces on February 28.

The group had passed 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov, who was pushing a bicycle by the side of the road and talking on his phone.

He was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of the unarmed civilian.

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