Who are Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner?

Two Britons were sentenced to death in a military court in Donetsk along with Moroccan militant Saadoun Brahim.

The Foreign Office has condemned the treatment of British soldiers Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner.

Who is Aiden Aslin?

Aiden Aslin is a British soldier fighting in Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

The 28-year-old is a former carer from Newark, Nottinghamshire.

He had previously fought with Kurdish forces against ISIS in Syria and served with the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG).

In 2018 Aslin moved to Ukraine and enlisted as a member of the Ukrainian Army.

Aiden Aslin (left) and Shaun Pinner (right) and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (centre) are behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk


Aiden Aslin (left) and Shaun Pinner (right) and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (centre) are behind bars in a courtroom in DonetskCredit: AP

Allegations by the Russians that Aslin, also known as Johnny, worked as a mercenary were denied by friends and family.

Ahead of the death sentence, his mother Angela told The Sun: “I want the government to help get him out.

“At least while they’re posting photos of him I know he’s alive, but it’s very cold comfort.

“If they use him for propaganda, I hope they do it quickly and then let him go.

“They are b*****d for the way they treated him.”

Who is Shaun Pinner?

Former waste manager Shaun Pinner, who was born in Watford, was arrested in Mauripol along with Aiden Aslin.

A few years ago he moved to Ukraine with his wife and later joined the military.

The 46-year-old was due to complete his three-year military contract later this year and was hoping for a humanitarian role, according to reports citing his lawyer.

Pinner was on the verge of tears when the separatist court in Donetsk, unrecognized by the British government, read out the execution sentence.

When were the British captured in Ukraine?

Both men were captured after being forced to surrender to Russian troops in the city of Mariupol.

They were kidnapped during the Siege of Mariupol in April 2022 and the families had hoped the pair would be used in a prisoner exchange.

Pictures emerged of Aslin being handcuffed, beaten and injured in late April.

A video was posted to Twitter of Pinner explaining who he is while looking exhausted.

The clip was captioned: “Another mercenary caught in Mariupol.

“Shaun Pinner is an English mercenary. He says he doesn’t need the war anymore and wants to go home. He can’t make it home.

“Captured Ukrainian soldiers testify to the atrocities committed by foreign mercenaries. And after the trial, they face the death penalty.”

Why were Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner in Ukraine?

Both men fought in the First Battalion of the 36th Brigade for the Ukrainian Marines.

Although born in Britain, both men had moved to Ukraine years before the war began.

Both had enlisted in the Ukrainian military before the Russian invasion and fought to protect the key city of Mariupol.

Aiden told a UK-based friend that it had been 48 days and they had run out of food and ammunition.

He said: “We tried our best to defend Mariupol, but we have no choice but to surrender to Russian forces.

“We have no food and no ammunition. It was a pleasure for everyone, I hope this war ends soon.”

Why are Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner being executed?

Russian military officials repeatedly accused the men of being mercenaries and were charged with “training to conduct terrorist activities”.

Both men pleaded guilty to the charge in a pro-Russian court in Donetsk.

This charge carries a sentence of 15 to 20 years in prison or the death penalty, which was awarded to the men.

Pinner also pleaded guilty to the charge of “seizure of power by force,” which carries an even longer sentence.

They will be executed by firing squad as the court has ordered the maximum sentence.

Donetsk, which proclaims itself the Donetsk People’s Republic, is a long-disputed territory of Ukraine that is not internationally recognized as a separate state.

Journalists were not allowed into the trial, which took place in a very short time, and all news from the court came through Russian state media.

Pro-Kremlin journalists published only short videos of the process.

Downing Street says the Government is “deeply concerned” by the verdicts.

Secretary of State Liz Truss tweeted:

“I strongly condemn the sentencing of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who were being held by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine.

“They are prisoners of war. This is a bogus judgment without any legitimacy.

“My thoughts are with the families. We continue to do everything we can to support them.”

Everything you need to know about the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine… Who are Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner?


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