Ukrainian official says Russia wants to use captured fighters as ‘hostages’

London Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 11:44 PM(IST)

Britons Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Britain on Friday condemned Russian proxy authorities in Donbas for what it called an "egregious breach" of the Geneva convention in sentencing to death two British nationals captured in the separatist region while fighting for Ukraine. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said he was talking to Ukraine rather than Russia over the situation facing Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who were convicted of "mercenary activities" on Thursday by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR).

Three fighters who were captured while fighting for Ukraine and sentenced to death are being used as ‘hostages’ by Russia to put pressure on the West over peace negotiations, a senior Ukrainian official said on Friday. 

"The trial of the foreigners raises the stakes in the Russian Federation's negotiation process. They are using them as hostages to put pressure on the world over the negotiation process," he told national television.

Two Britons and a Moroccan received the death sentence on Thursday from a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), one of Russia's proxies in eastern Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported.

They were brought to trial after a Ukrainian court sentenced a Russian soldier to life in prison last month for killing an unarmed civilian in Ukraine. 

Kyiv said Thursday's court ruling had no authority, that the fighters were members of the Ukrainian armed forces and that they were subject to Geneva Convention protections.

Vadym Denysenko, an Interior Ministry adviser, said on Friday Ukraine would coordinate its position on the sentences with Britain, the United States and the European Union.

Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia are frozen. Russia has accused Ukraine of blocking talks, but Kyiv says Moscow is to blame.

Britain on Friday condemned Russian proxy authorities in Donbas for what it called an "egregious breach" of the Geneva convention in sentencing to death two British nationals captured in the separatist region while fighting for Ukraine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said he was talking to Ukraine rather than Russia over the situation facing Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who were convicted of "mercenary activities" on Thursday by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR).

Aslin's family said he and Pinner "are not, and never were mercenaries."

They had been living in Ukraine when the war broke out and "as members of Ukrainian armed forces, should be treated with respect just like any other prisoners of war," the family said in a statement.

[with inputs from agencies]


 

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