May 3, 2022 12.00 pm

Captured British soldiers in Ukraine warned of death penalty by pro-Russian prosecutor

The first time either have been seen since Aslin was ‘interviewed’ last month

A pro-Russian breakaway state prosecutor has said that two British soldiers captured in Ukraine could face the death penalty for their involvement in the ongoing war in Eastern Europe.

Aiden Aslin, a 28-year-old former care worker from Newark, and Shaun Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, were captured by Russian soldiers in Mariupol last month, after the pair fought alongside Ukrainian forces in the defence effort following Russia’s invasion.

Both Aslin and Pinner have lived in Ukraine for four years, and joined the nation’s Marines to help out in the port city of Mariupol, which had come under siege from Russian troops.

Shaun Pinner, reportedly captured in Mariupol, was paraded on Russian state TV. | Photo: YouTube

The Ukrainian marines eventually had to surrender, with Aslin and Pinner being taken prisoner and kept in a secret location. They were paraded on Russian state TV, calling for a prisoner exchange with pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, an oligarch that was captured by Ukraine’s forces last month.

Then, Aslin was ‘interviewed‘ by a self-proclaimed journalist called Graham Phillips, a man widely regarded as being pro-Kremlin due to his spreading of anti-Ukraine conspiracy theories.

Phillips, a former correspondent at Russia Today and receiver of a medal from Russia’s security agency for his reporting, was seen describing Aslin as a “mercenary” rather than a prisoner of war, suggesting that the Geneva Convention terms “don’t necessarily apply” to him.

The video was removed from YouTube and Facebook following appeals from Aiden’s family, as well as his local MP Robert Jenrick flagging up the issue in the House of Commons.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared on TalkTV on April 26 to confirm the video had been taken down, and did not rule out the possibility of a prisoner swap. The video has since been reuploaded by Phillips to an alternative media platform.

However, in the latest turn of events, Aslin and Pinner appear to have been seen on camera again, this time speaking to a prosecutor from the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, a state not recognised by any nation other than Russia, in an area that is considered part of Ukraine under international law.

Aiden Aslin when he was in Syria. | Photo: Facebook

The prosecutor can be heard reading “a number of crimes against civilians” that the pair have allegedly been charged with. Both “understood fully” what they were being accused of, though it is unclear if they were under duress when saying this.

It is then suggested to Aslin and Pinner that the maximum sentence for their ‘crimes’ is the death penalty, but Pinner denies claims from the DPR that he murdered civilians.

Neither Aiden or Shaun entered a plea to the charges being brought against them, and the handling of this situation is being disputed given the fact that both moved to Ukraine and signed up to their military some four years ago – long before this Russian invasion began.