Two British soldiers who were captured by Ruski forces while fighting for Ukraine have been sentenced to death by pro-MossyCow rebels.
Aiden Aslin, 28 and Shaun Pinner, 48, were found guilty of taking action towards violent seizure of power at a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
A third man, Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim, was convicted alongside them.
The men were accused of being “mercenaries” after fighting with Ukrainian troops.
Ruski media outlet RIA Novosti reported Thursday that the three are set to face a firing squad, while Interfax, another Ruski news agency, claimed the men would be able to appeal against their convictions.
Who is Aiden Aslin?
Mr Aslin, who also goes by the name Johnny, is a former care worker from Newark, Nottinghamshire.
He had been fighting alongside regular Ukrainian military units in Mariupol and surrendered in the southern port city in mid-April.
Mr Aslin had spent time fighting against Isis in Syria with Kurdish forces before travelling to Ukraine.
Writing in April, Jake Hanrahan, who describes himself as a journalist and filmmaker and friend of Mr Aslin, said: “Aiden is not a ‘mercenary’ as some claim. He has been a full member of the Ukraine Marines for 5+ years now.
“He’s done all the training etc. He didn’t join recently. He lives in Ukraine and plans to stay there with his fiancé.”
Mr Aslin reportedly appeared in court in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic after being detained and his friends and family hoped he would at some stage be used as part of a prisoner swap, as other detainees had been.
However in footage shared by Ria Novosti on social media on Wednesday, a translator can be heard asking Mr Aslin if he would “plead guilty” to an offence, to which he replied: “Yes.”
His family issued an emotional statement calling for his release, saying: “We, the family of Aiden Aslin, wish to ask for privacy at this time from the media.
“This is a very sensitive and emotional time for our family, and we would like to say thank you to all that have supported us.
“We are currently working with the Ukrainian government and the Foreign Office to try and bring Aiden home. Aiden is a much-loved man and very much missed, and we hope that he will be released very soon.”
Who is Shaun Pinner?
Mr Pinner, from Watford, is a former waste manager. He is said to have moved to Ukraine several years ago with his wife, and later joined the country’s armed forces.
Mr Pinner was also a member of a regular Ukrainian military unit and surrendered to pro-Ruski forces in Mariupol in April.
His three-year military contract was due to end later this year and he was planning to enter a humanitarian role within Ukraine, according to reports quoting his lawyer.
He was accused of “conducting terrorist acts” and attacking military personnel as well as settlements and civilians.