Ukraine war:Captured Britons face ’20 years in jail’ after appearing in pro-Russian court | UK News

Two Britons who were captured by Russian forces while fighting in Ukraine could face 20 years in prison, according to a video shared by Russian state media.

Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, were detained in April before reportedly appearing in court in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

The pair are understood to have admitted to “training in order to carry out terrorist activities”.

Footage shared by Russian news agency Ria Novosti on social media appears to show a translator asking Mr Aslin if he would plead guilty to an offence, to which he replied: “Yes.”

In the video, the two Britons stand in the dock in the pro-Russian territory’s supreme court alongside a third man, reported to be Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim.

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Mr Pinner is understood to be facing a longer-term sentence and even the death penalty after allegedly admitting to “seizing power by force”.

Just hours earlier, Conservative former minister Robert Jenrick called for Mr Aslin to return home at the earliest opportunity, possibly through a prisoner exchange.

The MP condemned the “trumped-up charges” faced by the pair and accused Russia of a “completely outrageous breach of international law”.

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British man held by Russians

He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “This is a British citizen, but who also holds Ukrainian nationality, is married to a Ukrainian, joined the Ukrainian armed forces in the normal way prior to (Vladimir) Putin’s illegal invasion, and has been serving in the armed forces.

“He was taken prisoner by Russian forces and in accordance with international law and the Geneva Convention, he should be being held appropriately and returned to Ukraine at the earliest possible opportunity, possibly through a prisoner exchange.

“Instead of that Putin’s regime has chosen to put him and another British national, Shaun Pinner, on trial on trumped up charges, no evidence whatsoever. This is, I’m afraid, a completely outrageous breach of international law and it should be condemned.”

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He added: “What I hope happens is that a prisoner exchange occurs in the near future. The Russian authorities have chosen to make an example out of these two British nationals and it is, I think, completely shameful.”

Mr Pinner was filmed in April saying that he had been captured while defending Mariupol, his adopted city.

His family stressed at the time that he was “not a volunteer nor a mercenary, but officially serving with the Ukrainian army”.

He told Sky News a few months before that he was on his fourth tour of duty in Ukraine after serving in the British Army for nine years, and has lived 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 the Foreign Office would make “all the representations”.

Shaun Pinner's family shared a picture of the 48-year-old former British Army soldier
Image:
Shaun Pinner’s family shared a picture of the 48-year-old former British Army soldier

Mr Aslin’s family said on Tuesday that it was a “very sensitive and emotional time” and that they were working with the Ukrainian government and UK Foreign Office to try to free the 28-year-old.

“Aiden is a much-loved man and very much missed, and we hope that he will be released very soon,” they said in a statement.

The former care home worker joined Ukraine’s armed forces as a marine in 2018 and has applied for citizenship, and has a Ukrainian fiancee.

Russia’s current focus in the war is to capture the eastern Donbas region, made up of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Separatists unilaterally set up two breakaway republics there in 2014, but they are not recognised by Ukraine.

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