Ukraine: Death sentence will 'sober up' UK says host
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Russian state media boasted that the death penalty verdits delivered by the court of the Donetsk People’s Republic will force Ukraine’s international allies to reconsider their support. The pundit described the soldiers as “mercenaries” and suggested foreign governments providing aid to Ukraine, including the UK, would be made to review whether their support was “appealing”. The two Brits, identified as Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, alongside a Moroccan man, Saaudun Brahim, have been sentenced to death for their involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.
Speaking on the state-controlled network Russia One, the journalist said: “A verdict which is likely to sober up anyone who still thinks that colluding with Ukrainian nationalists is appealing and lucrative.”
She continued: “The death penalty was the sentence of the DPR court handed down to the three mercenaries from the UK and Morocco.
“All of them were serving in the Ukrainian armed forces 36th marine brigade.
“All pleaded guilty in full.”
The three men were sentenced after a Russian proxy trial in the Donetsk People’s Republic, a region not formally recognised by the West and still considered to be an area within Ukraine.
Russian authorities have charged the men with being mercenaries involved in the foreign conflict, though the soldiers deny this.
Mr Aslin holds dual Ukrainian and British citizenship, despite being born in the UK, he had reportedly settled in the Mykolaiv area with his Ukrainian fiancée some years prior to the outbreak of the war.
Having previous military experience, Mr Alsin joined the Ukrainian military in 2018 and was later captured by Russian forces during the siege of Mariupol while fighting in the 36th Marine Infantry Brigade.
Despite this, Russian state media has continued to brand Mr Aslin and his fellow soldiers as professional paid mercenaries sent from abroad to fight for Ukraine.
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Similarly, the family of Mr Pinner have insisted he has been a long-term member of the Ukrainian armed forces having been settled in the country for several years.
The Moroccan man, Mr Brahim, is reported to have been studying in Kyiv for some years prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
During his residence in Ukraine, Mr Brahim joined the 36th Marines Brigade, the same military group as the two British men.
All three men were evidently settled in Ukraine prior to the outbreak and were not sent as foreign soldiers for hire to fight against Putin’s forces on the frontline.
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Defenders of the soldiers have highlighted that the men are entitled to the protection afforded by the Geneva Convention for prisoners of war.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “Under the Geneva Convention, prisoners of war are entitled to combatant immunity, and they should not be prosecuted for participation in hostilities.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has confirmed she has discussed “efforts to secure the release of the prisoners of war held by Russian proxies” with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.
Ms Truss added: “The judgement against them is an egregious breach of the Geneva Convention.”
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