Two British men captured by Russian-backed separatists in occupied Ukraine have been sentenced to death.
Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, were handed the punishment by a ‘supreme court’ in the Donetsk region, alongside a Moroccan student, Ibrahim Sadun.
The duo were held by separatists in the city of Mariupol in April and were accused of fighting against Russia and having served in Ukraine’s armed forces.
Aslin and Pinner’s trial took place in private on Tuesday.
Russia has reportedly been collecting Ukrainian fighters in a bid to hold a prisoner exchange, and is close to securing the entire eastern Donbas region.
Footage released by the separatists’ “Supreme Court” showed the three men in a metal cage in court.
The Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted her criticism of the judgment, saying: “I utterly condemn the sentencing of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner held by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine.”
They are prisoners of war. This is a sham judgment with absolutely no legitimacy. My thoughts are with the families. We continue to do everything we can to support them.”
Stephen Doughty MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Europe:“It is an outrageous and shameful breach of international law for the Russian regime or its puppets to use an illegitimate court to prosecute legitimate prisoners of war who are entitled to combatant immunity.
“The international law of armed conflict must be upheld at all times. The FCDO must urgently support the families of these soldiers who will be in deep distress at this time.”