Thursday, May 5, 2022

British fighters Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin said they face the Russian death penalty

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Shaun Pinner, 48, and Aiden Aslin, 28, were both caught earlier this year by Russian soldiers while fighting for Ukraine in the disputed Donbass region that Russia claims as its own

Two British “mercenary” soldiers captured by Russia could face the death penalty.

Shaun Pinner, 48, and Aiden Aslin, 28, are both standing before a court in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.

Prosecutor Andrei Spivak said both were “charged with a number of crimes against civilians of the Donetsk People’s Republic” and that the “maximum penalty for these crimes is the death penalty.”

While Aslin said he understood the allegations against him, he also said he disagreed that he murdered civilians while fighting for Ukrainians in Mariupol.

It is highly unlikely that the charges – including the death penalty – could be brought without the approval of the Russian leadership.

The prosecutor said: “In the period from approximately December 2018 to April 2022, Shaun Pinner, Aiden John Mark Aslin and [another foreign fighter] Deliberate actions of a group of people by prior agreement as part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine located on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR] armed with firearms and took part in the preparation and military actions against the armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic in wartime for the purpose of violent conquest and maintaining power on the territory of the DPR.”

They are also accused of violating their constitution by committing “acts of terrorism, diversion, explosions, artillery shelling, mortars, small arms of settlements, peaceful citizens, military of DPR Armed Forces, killing of DPR citizens, threats” of the Civilians who carried out their will during the May 11, 2014 referendum that led to the formation of the Donetsk State People’s Republic”.

Aslin replied: “I totally understand what I’m being accused of and I totally agree, except for the part about the killing of civilians – I don’t agree.

“I agree with the fact that I fought on the territory of the DPR and fought against the soldiers of the DPR in peaceful settlements.”

He also admitted to using weapons and weapon systems alongside other foreigners, including Pinner, who admitted he understood the charges.

Pinner was captured earlier this month and used in a short propaganda video shown in Russian media.

In the video he said: “Hi, I’m Shaun Pinner. I am a British citizen. I was captured in Mariupol. I belong to the 1st Battalion of the Ukrainian Marines, 36th Brigade.

“I fought in Mariupol for five to six weeks and now I’m in the Donetsk People’s Republic.”

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Pinner had been living in the Donbass region with his wife for four years.

Aslin is a British-Ukrainian citizen and has been a member of the Ukrainian Marine Corps for several years.

Under international law, Donetsk is still part of Ukraine, although Russia claims that a fake referendum held a few years ago showed that locals still living in the area – and there aren’t many – want to live under Russian rule .

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