Two British and a Moroccan man were sentenced to death by a “court” of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic for fighting on the side of Ukraine, the Reuters agency reported, citing the Russian state media. “Prisoners of war should not be used for political purposes,” a spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on Thursday. The head of the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs also referred to the matter.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Great Britain Liz Truss denounced Thursday’s sentence as “sham”. “They are prisoners of war. This is an apparent sentence that has no justification” – she assessed.
Prime Minister’s spokesman Boris Johnson referring to the verdict, he said the UK was “deeply concerned” by it. “We keep repeating that prisoners of war should not be used for political purposes,” he said.
It noted that, under the Geneva Convention, prisoners of war should not be prosecuted for participating in hostilities. “We will therefore continue to work with the Ukrainian authorities to try to release all British citizens who served in the Ukrainian armed forces and are currently held as prisoners of war,” he added.
Foreigners detained by separatists from Donetsk
The leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denys Puszylin, accused the men of “monstrous” crimes such as seizure attempts and crimes against groups of people. At the end of May, Viktor Gavrilov, an official at the DPR’s self-proclaimed prosecutor’s office, had previously reported that the criminal investigation had “been completed” and that, given that there was war, the accused could be sentenced to death.
Aslin’s family said Tuesday they are working with the Ukrainian government and the British Foreign Office to release the 28-year-old. The man joined the Ukrainian armed forces as a marines in 2018 and applied for citizenship. His fiancée is Ukrainian.
Pinner was filmed in April saying he was captured while defending Mariupol. His family emphasized then that “he was not a volunteer or a mercenary, but officially served in the Ukrainian army.” The man told Sky News a few months earlier that after nine years in the British Army, he was on his fourth mission to Ukraine. He has been living in the country since 2018 and has a Ukrainian wife.
According to the media, the Moroccan also served in the Ukrainian army. The man studied in Ukraine since 2019, but stopped his studies and signed a contract with the armed forces of that country.
UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said the British government expects the laws of armed conflict to be respected, added that British authorities will make the necessary statements in court in the DPR on behalf of Aslin.
Main photo source: Reuters