Russian Emergencies personnel clear debris in the partially destroyed Mariupol drama theatre in the city of Mariupol on May 10, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine.
Russian TV Says Captured Foreign POWs Should Be Shot Getty Images | STRINGER/AFP

The Kremlin’s separatist forces in Ukraine announced Tuesday night that they are in the midst of preparing for the execution of two captured Brits. The fighters, Aiden Aslin, 28 and Shaun Pinner, 48, were captured near Mariupol in April by Russian troops while fighting for the Ukrainian army. Both soldiers were sentenced to death and await their fate while work on the execution site is underway.

According to The Sun, pro-Russia officials stationed in the Donetsk People’s Republic announced they have been in the works of preparing a place for the execution of their sentenced captives. In their statement, they said that the captured fighters will be executed by firing squad. However, no exact date has been given as this will not be released in advance. “Everything is ready. It won’t be public,” DPR spokesman Denys Pushilin said.

Media sources said both Brits along with Moroccan national Brahim Saadoun were sentenced last month in what could be described by Western politicians as a kangaroo court set up merely as a show trial by pro-Russian separatists. Donetsk, which now stands as a breakaway state from Ukraine has defended its right to impose the death sentence as part of its laws on capital punishment. DPR Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonova said the captives received death sentences under the law for fighting as “mercenaries”.

"We consider that mercenary activity is indeed a terrible crime because people, for a reward, come to another country to kill other people, despite having no personal goals connected to the conflict in question," she explained.

When asked if such a ruling would harm their desires to be recognized internationally, the foreign minister further justified their actions saying that the decision is within their legislation and should not be linked to its attempts to further process their recognition by other nations.

Meanwhile, appeals for the captives are pending with their relatives saying the freedom fighters were soldiers under contract to the Ukrainian army and are entitled to protection in the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war. All three prisoners belonged to the Ukrainian Military Units. Aslin was a Grenadier Guardsman and Pinner was serving with the Royal Anglian Regiment. Two other Britons, Dylan Healy, 22, and Andrew Hill, 35, are also currently being held captive in Donetsk. Their relatives are pinning their hopes on a release as part of a prisoner exchange.

Ukrainian soldiers mourn during the funeral of fellow soldier Dmitry Zhelisko
Ukrainian soldiers mourn during the funeral of fellow soldier Dmitry Zhelisko at the Church of St. Volodymyr on April 03, 2022 in Chervonohrad, Ukraine. Zhelisko died fighting the Russian army near the town of Kharkiv. More than five weeks since the Russian invasion began, Ukraine's military losses are still unclear, with the last official account coming on March 12, when the government acknowledged that 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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