Two British fighters who joined the fight against invading troops in Ukraine have been ‘sentenced to death’, according to Russian media.
Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin were subjected to what observers have described as a ‘show trial’.
The pair were in the dock alongside a Moroccan man, Saaudun Brahim, in the supreme court of the self-declared People’s Republic of Donetsk.
The court, which was set up by Moscow-backed militants who seized the territory in 2014, is not recognised internationally.
Footage of the trial has been aired on state TV, with local officials accused of ‘trumping up charges’ against them for propaganda purposes by UK politicians.
All three defendants were forced to ‘plead guilty’ to the charges in front of TV cameras yesterday.
The Foreign Office has condemned the exploitation of prisoners of war for political purposes.
A spokesperson said they are ‘entitled to combatant immunity and should not be prosecuted for participation in hostilities’.
Mr Aslin, 28, from Newark, is an enlisted member of the Ukrainian army, having moved there in 2018.
Mr Pinner, 48, from Watford, also said he had listed in the Ukrainian marines, a status which should give them both protection under the Geneva Convention.
But Kremlin-backed authorities and media have sought to portray them as mercenaries and said they were involved in ‘terrorist activities’.
Russian media outlet RIA Novosti reported Thursday that the three are set to face a firing squad.
Interfax, another Russian news agency, claimed the men would be able to appeal against their convictions.
Ukrainian media had speculated earlier in the day that the court would pass a death sentence but commute it in favour of imprisonment.