Two British men taken prisoner by Russian troops and accused of being mercenaries have appeared in court on prosecutors carrying a possible death sentence.
Aiden Aslin, from Newark in Nottinghamshire, was seen in a Telegram video alongside Shaun Pinner, from Bedfordshire, and Saaudun Brahim from Morocco.
They are being held in the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, a degraded region in eastern Ukraine.
The men say they serve with regular military units in Mariupol, so should be protected as prisoners of war by the Geneva Convention.
A third Briton, Andrew Hill, is also charged after being imprisoned in the Mykolaiv area. His connection is unclear.
The President of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, has accused the men of “monstrous” crimes, such as attempting to seize power and committing crimes against groups of people.
He said her trial would open at the region’s highest court.
Mr Aslin’s family said on Tuesday it was a “very sensitive and emotional time” and that they were working with the Ukrainian government and the British Foreign Office to try to free the 28-year-old.
“Aiden is a beloved man and very much missed, and we hope he will be released very soon,” she said in a statement.
The former worker of care home joined the armed forces of Ukraine in 2018 as a navy and has applied for citizenship, and has a Ukrainian fiancé.
Mr Pinner was filmed in April saying he had been taken prisoner while defending Mariupol, his adopted city.
His family then claimed he was “not a volunteer nor a mercenary, but officially served in the Ukrainian army”.
The 48-year-old told Sky News a few months earlier that he was on his fourth service in Ukraine after serving nine years in the British Army.
He has been living in the country since 2018 and has a Ukrainian wife.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said on Monday that the British government expected “the laws of armed conflict to be represented” and that the Foreign Office would make “all representations”.
Russia’s current focus in the war is to conquer the eastern Donbas region, consisting of Luhansk and Donetsk.
Separatists unilaterally established two separatist republics there in 2014, but they are not recognized by Ukraine.
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Ukrainian War: Prisoner Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner appear in Russian separatist court | UK News
Source link Ukrainian War: Prisoner Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner appear in Russian separatist court | UK News