Three foreigners who fought for Ukrainian forces have pleaded guilty to a number of charges in a Donetsk court on Wednesday. British nationals Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, and Moroccan citizen Ibrahim Saadoun, face a series of charges – some of which carry the possibility of the death penalty – after being captured by Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) forces in and around the city of Mariupol.
The DPR, recognised by Russia in February, claims sovereignty over the former Ukrainian provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk. Kiev still regards the land as part of its territory.
Aslin, Pinner, and Saadoun issued guilty pleas under Article 232 of the DPR Code, for “undergoing training for the purpose of carrying out terrorist activities.” Pinner also admitted to the Article 323 charge, “act of seizing power by force.”
All three said they were not guilty of being mercenaries in an armed conflict (Article 430) or participating in a conspiracy (Article 34). Proceedings against them at the Supreme Court of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) began on Monday.
The DPR accuses Ukraine of military aggression against the breakaway state, which first declared independence in 2014 following the US-backed coup in Kiev. Both Britons said they had fought on the Ukrainian side since 2018.