Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered his ministers to do “everything in their power” to secure the release of two Britons captured by Russian forces while fighting in Ukraine and sentenced to death.
Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were captured in Mariupol in April during the intense struggle for control of the port city and were accused of being mercenaries.
Both were found guilty of “mercenary activities and actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order of the Donetsk People’s Republic”, but their families maintain that they were fighting legitimately within the framework of the Ukrainian army and should instead be treated as prisoners of war. .
Explanation: Why are two Britons facing the death penalty?
Government Minister Robin Walker condemned the proceedings as “an illegal tribunal in a sham government”.
Mr Johnson was reportedly ‘appalled’ by the penalties imposed on them and ordered ministers to do “everything in their power” to secure their release.
A Number 10 spokesperson said: ‘He is 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.’
The Prime Minister’s rallying call came as Diana Okovyta, Mr Aslin’s fiancee, traveled to London to try to campaign for his release.
And in an emotional post on social media, she assured her partner that he was not “abandoned”.
She said: “How I would like you to know that you are not forgotten, you are not alone, you are not abandoned and will not be abandoned.
“I hope that in any case in the depths of your soul you know and feel it. I believe that soon in the newspapers we will see pictures of you smiling.”
The UK has not announced any plans to speak to Russian officials.
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Post expires at 6:13am on Tuesday June 21st, 2022