Two captured Brits face ‘20 years in jail’ after appearing in pro-Russian court

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Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, who were detained in April before reportedly appearing in court in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). The pair, while fighting in Ukraine, are understood to have admitted to “training in order to carry out terrorist activities”.

In footage shared by Ria Novosti, a Russian state news agency, on social media on Wednesday, an interpreter can be heard asking Aslin, from Newark, Nottinghamshire, if he would “plead guilty” to an offence, to which he replied: “Yes.”

The charge carries a term of 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment with restriction of freedom for a term of one to two years or life imprisonment, according to Ria Novosti.

The video appeared to show the two Britons in the dock in the pro-Russian territory’s supreme court alongside a third man, reported to be Saaudun Brahim, a Moroccan national who was also captured.

Mr Pinner, from Watford and Bedfordshire, is also said to face a longer term and possibly the death penalty after allegedly admitting to “seizing power by force”.

The men are understood to be the first Ukrainian soldiers to be tried by pro-Russian forces.

The development comes hours after Conservative former minister Robert Jenrick called for Mr Aslin to return home at the earliest opportunity, possibly through a prisoner exchange.

The MP condemned the “trumped-up charges” faced by the pair and accused Russia of a “completely outrageous breach of international law”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “This is a British citizen, but who also holds Ukrainian nationality, is married to a Ukrainian, joined the Ukrainian armed forces in the normal way prior to (Vladimir) Putin’s illegal invasion, and has been serving in the armed forces.

“He was taken prisoner by Russian forces and in accordance with international law and the Geneva Convention, he should be being held appropriately and returned to Ukraine at the earliest possible opportunity, possibly through a prisoner exchange.

“Instead of that Putin’s regime has chosen to put him and another British national, Shaun Pinner, on trial on trumped up charges, no evidence whatsoever.

“This is, I’m afraid, a completely outrageous breach of international law and it should be condemned.”

He added: “What I hope happens is that a prisoner exchange occurs in the near future.

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“The Russian authorities have chosen to make an example out of these two British nationals and it is, I think, completely shameful.”

Mr Pinner was filmed in April saying that he had been captured while defending Mariupol, his adopted city.

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