A former British Army solider who was captured by Russia while fighting in Mariupol has been sentenced to death by pro-Moscow rebels.
Shaun Pinner, along with fellow Briton Aiden Aslin and Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim, was convicted of taking action towards violent seizure of power at a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
The UK Government insisted the judgment had no legitimacy and the pair should be treated as prisoners of war.
In a previous TV appearance, Mr Pinner was shown alongside fellow detainee Mr Aslin asking British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to facilitate an exchange for the pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk.
Mr Medvedchuk is currently being held prisoner by Ukraine after previously fleeing house arrest.
At around the same time, Ukraine released a video of Mr Medvedchuk making a similar exchange plea.
Mr Pinner’s family have now also made a plea of their own to allow for their relative to be considered as a ‘prisoner of war’.
Who is Shaun Pinner?
Shaun Pinner is a 48-year-old former Royal Anglian solider who is originally from Bedfordshire.
Mr Pinner fought alongside Ukrainian resistance forces in the besieged city of Mairupol before he was captured by Russian soliders.
The former solider had moved to Ukraine four years ago before joining the Ukrainian marines in order to pass over his expertise he picked up from the British Army.
According to Mr Pinner’s family, he was due to complete his three-year contract in the military at the end of 2022 and planned to move to a humanitarian role within Ukraine.
What did Shaun Pinner say on Russian state television?
In a video shown on Russian television channel Rossyia 24 on Saturday night.
He said: “Hi, I’m Shaun Pinner. I am a citizen of the UK. I was captured in Mariupol. I am part of the 36 Brigade First Battalion Ukrainian Marines.
“I was fighting in Mariupol for five to six weeks and now I’m in Donetsk People’s Republic.”
Russia has been accused of parading Mr Pinner and his fellow detainee Aiden Aslin on television.
Speaking directly to Boris Johnson, Mr Pinner added: “Mr Boris Johnson. Obviously I’m Shaun Pinner.
“A lot’s gone on over the last five or six weeks that I’m not fully aware of. Obviously I understand that Mr Medvedchuk has been detained and we look to exchange myself and Aiden Aslin for Mr Medvedchuk.
“Obviously I would really appreciate your help in this matter and pushing this agenda. Myself I’ve been treated well. Fully understand the situation that I’m in. We’ve been fed, watered, and that’s all I can really say but I beg on my behalf and Aiden Aslin’s behalf for help us in an exchange for Mr Medvedchuk.”
It is not yet known how freely the former British solider was speaking in the videos.
What has Shaun Pinner’s family said?
Mr Pinner’s family has issued a plea of their own for the detainee to be treated as a prisoner of war as he is a serving Ukrainian solider.
In a statement released by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) on behalf of the Mr Pinner’s family, they go into more detail on how he recognises Ukraine as “his adopted country”.
It read: “Shaun was a well-respected soldier within the British Army serving in the Royal Anglian Regiment for many years. He served in many tours including Northern Ireland and with the United Nations in Bosnia.
“In 2018 Shaun decided to relocate to Ukraine to use his previous experience and training within the Ukraine military.
“Shaun enjoyed the Ukrainian way of life and considered Ukraine as his adopted country over the last four years. During this time, he met his Ukrainian wife, who is very focused on the humanitarian needs of the country.
“He progressed into the Ukrainian Marines as a proud member of his unit. We would like to make it clear he is not a volunteer nor a mercenary, but officially serving with the Ukrainian Army in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.”
What has been said about Aiden Aslin?
Aiden Aslin was also captured alongside Mr Pinner.
Mr Aslin is a 28-year-old British-Ukrainian national who was fighting as part of the Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol.
He was also seen making a similar plea to Mr Pinner on Russian state televisionm while also being filmed walking in handcuffs while surrendering to the Russian army.
His mother Angela Wood told Sky News: “He’s not a mercenary, he’s not a volunteer, he did not go out there in the last month and think ‘I’m going to fight, I’m going to get glory’.
“He has been out there four years and he is a legitimate Ukrainian marine.”
The UK Foreign Office has confirmed that it has been in contact with both Mr Pinner and Mr Aslin’s family to offer support.
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