The family of a Briton on death row for fighting Russian forces have said they are “devastated” and called for “urgent cooperation” to secure his release.
Shaun Pinner, 48, received the death sentence, along with fellow Briton Aiden Aslin, this week in what the UK government called a “sham” sentencing.
The couple were captured in April while fighting as part of the Ukrainian army to defend the southern port city of Mariupol from invading Russian troops.
After their trial by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, a Russian puppet regime backed by Vladimir Putin, concluded, Pinner’s family called the situation “horrible”.
In a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, they said: “Firstly, our whole family is devastated and saddened by the outcome of the illegal show trial of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.
“As a resident of Ukraine for over four years and under contract to Navy service in the 36th Brigade, of which he is very proud, Shaun should be granted all the rights of a prisoner of war under the Geneva conventions and including full independent legal representation.
“We sincerely hope that all parties will urgently cooperate to ensure the safe release or exchange of Shaun.
“Our family, including his son and his Ukrainian wife, love and miss him so much and our hearts go out to all the families involved in this terrible situation.”
Both families say Pinner and Aslin, 28, were legitimately fighting as part of the Ukrainian military and should be treated as prisoners of war.
Boris Johnson has told his ministers to do “everything in their power” to secure the release of the men, who were convicted alongside a Moroccan national.
A Number 10 spokesperson said: ‘The Prime Minister was appalled by the sentencing of these men.
“He has been following the case closely and has asked ministers to do everything in their power to try to reunite them with their families as soon as possible.
“We totally condemn the bogus death sentence against these men. There is no justification for this violation of the protection to which they are entitled.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, hinted that negotiations for a possible prisoner swap with Moscow were already underway.
He told BBC News: “It will be an exchange. The important question is what the price will be, because the Russians were talking about some Ukrainian MPs being exchanged for them, especially those who I understand now have worked for them all these years.
Meanwhile, the foreign secretary said she had spoken with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, “to discuss efforts to secure the release of prisoners of war held by Russian proxies.”
Liz Truss tweeted: “The judgment against them is a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention. The UK continues to support Ukraine against Putin’s barbaric invasion.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace traveled to Kyiv on Friday for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
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