Russia has rebuked Britain for its reaction to the death sentences passed by the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on two British nationals, who were captured while fighting for Ukraine. In a statement from the Russian foreign ministry, Moscow rejected the claim that the two were combatants, who should be treated as prisoners of war, stating that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were mercenaries.
The two fighters were tried alongside Saadun Ibrahim who is Moroccan. The DPR supreme court found all three guilty of a number of crimes related to their activities while fighting on the side of Ukrainian troops. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss described the sentence as a “sham judgment with absolutely no legitimacy”.
The statement released by the Russian foreign ministry said the reaction to the sentence by UK officials was “bordering on hysterics.” Russia rejected British claims that the two fighters were protected as combatants under the Geneva Conventions, siding with the DPR assessment of their status.
“They are mercenaries and not prisoners of war. Mercenaries sent by the West to assist the nationalist regime in Kiev are not combatants and are not entitled to the status of prisoner of war under international humanitarian law,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in the statement.