British fighters captured in Ukraine by Russian forces face death penalty

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were captured in Mariupol

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Relatives of a British fighter in Ukraine who was captured by Russian forces have thanked supporters as he faces charges that carry a possible death penalty.

The family of Aiden Aslin, one of three men accused of being mercenaries for Ukrainian forces, have said they are working with the Foreign Office and Ukrainian government to get him home.

In a statement released through the Foreign Office, they described Mr Aslin as a “much-loved man and very much missed”.

It comes after the president of Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk People’s Republic said the region’s supreme court is opening the trial of the three Britons.

Aden Aslin
Aden Aslin

If convicted on the charges, including of trying to seize power, the men could face the death penalty.

Separatist president Denis Pushilin on Monday claimed “the crimes they committed were monstrous”, according to separatist news agency DAN.

Mr Aslin and one of the other men, Shaun Pinner, were members of regular Ukrainian military units in Mariupol. The affiliation of the third man, Andrew Hill, who was captured in the Mykolaiv area, is unclear.

Mr Aslin’s family said in the statement on Tuesday: “We, the family of Aiden Aslin, wish to ask for privacy at this time from the media.

“This is a very sensitive and emotional time for our family, and we would like to say thank you to all that have supported us.

“We are currently working with the Ukrainian government and the Foreign Office to try and bring Aiden home. Aiden is a much-loved man and very much missed, and we hope that he will be released very soon.”

Dominic Raab has said the Foreign Office will “make all the representations” on Mr Aslin’s behalf.

Speaking on Monday, he told LBC: “In relation to that case, I don’t know all the details, but of course we would expect the laws of armed conflict to be respected, and we will make sure that we will make all the representations.

“I know the Foreign Office will be looking at making sure all those representations are made.”