Latest news on the war in Ukraine: British fighters Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner sentenced to death by Russian separatists

Zelensky dismisses anchor’s suggestion that Trump stopped Russian invasion

Two Britons and a Moroccan have been sentenced to death by pro-Russian separatists for fighting with the Ukrainian army in what Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called a “fictitious trial”.

Aiden Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire, Shaun Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, and Brahim Saadoun, from Morocco, were captured earlier in the war. A court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic handed down death sentences on Thursday.

Ms Truss said: “I totally condemn the sentencing of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner being held by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine.

“They are prisoners of war. It is a fictitious judgment without any legitimacy. My thoughts are with the families. We continue to do everything we can to support them. »

The men’s families strongly deny they were mercenaries, saying they were fighting for the Ukrainian army and should be protected by international law.

Meanwhile, Polish President Andrzej Duda claimed talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin resembled negotiations with Adolf Hitler.

He also criticized French and German leaders for their phone calls with Putin, after French President Emmanuel Macron said “we must not humiliate Russia” for future diplomatic reasons.

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Ministers demand release of Britons sentenced to death in ‘Soviet-era show trial’

Ministers have demanded the release of two Britons who were sentenced to death today by pro-Russian separatists in what has been described as a ‘Soviet-era show trial’.

Moscow has been accused of breaching the Geneva Convention for the treatment of Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, who were captured while fighting with Ukrainian forces.

Our Deputy Political Editor Rob Merrick has more details:

Chiara GiordanoJune 9, 2022 11:31 p.m.

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Volodymyr Zelensky reports “positive” military news from the Zaporizhzhia region

Volodymyr Zelensky reported “positive” news from the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia, where he said Ukrainian forces were managing to thwart Russian troops.

In a video address, the Ukrainian president also said that the country’s forces were gradually advancing in the Kharkiv region, east of Kyiv, “liberating our land”.

Chiara GiordanoJune 9, 2022 10:54 p.m.

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“DPR condemns flagrant violation of law to death” – Amnesty

The death sentence of three men by a Moscow-backed court in eastern Ukraine is a “flagrant violation of international humanitarian law”, Amnesty International has said.

The court in the breakaway region known as the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine has charged two Britons – Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner – and Moroccan national Brahim Saadoun with acting as mercenaries for Ukraine during the Russian invasion.

Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:

“This is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law in many respects. All three men were members of Ukraine’s regular forces and, under the Geneva Conventions, as prisoners of war they are protected from prosecution for taking part in hostilities.

“The only exception is prosecutions for alleged war crimes, in which case there must be sufficient admissible evidence and fair trial standards must be guaranteed. Not only is that not the case in this scenario – they were not tried by an independent, impartial and regularly constituted tribunal, but by Russian proxies.

“The so-called ‘charges’ against them would not constitute war crimes. And most outrageous of all, to take their lives following grossly unfair proceedings would constitute an arbitrary deprivation of life.

“In fact, willfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the right to a fair and regular trial constitutes a war crime. Russia, as the occupying power, is responsible for the treatment of all prisoners of war and other persons deprived of their liberty.

“They must ensure that this so-called ‘conviction’ is immediately quashed and that these men are treated with full respect for international humanitarian law.

Lamiat SabinJune 9, 2022 10:30 p.m.

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“Up to 200 Ukrainian soldiers killed every day” – Zelensky’s assistant

Between 100 and 200 Ukrainian soldiers are killed every day, a senior Volodymyr Zelensky official said.

Mykhaylo Podolyak told the BBC that the defenders needed hundreds more Western artillery systems to address the “lack of parity” between the Russian and Ukrainian armies amid the ongoing conflict in Donbass, eastern Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s troops continue their attempts to take control of Donbass, which includes the separatist-backed regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Police comb through rubble after a missile strike in the town of Druzhkivka in Donetsk

(Getty Pictures)

“Russian forces have launched just about everything non-nuclear onto the front, including heavy artillery, multiple rocket launch systems and aviation,” Mr Podolyak told the BBC.

He requested between 150 and 300 rocket launchers to match Russia.

Mr Podolyak also said that Kyiv would not be ready to resume peace talks with Moscow unless Russia returned the territory it had gained since it launched its invasion on February 24.

Lamiat SabinJune 9, 2022 10:10 p.m.

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Death sentence trial ‘worthless’ says Ukrainian government official

The Ukrainian government has called the trial of British citizens and a Moroccan national – in which they were sentenced to death today – “worthless”.

A court in the separatist Russian-backed region of Donetsk accused the three men of acting as mercenaries for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Aiden Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire, Shaun Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, and Brahim Saadoun, from Morocco, have been detained since their capture in April.

Oleh Nikolenko, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, told the European Pravda news site: “All foreigners who fight on Ukrainian territory as part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF) are members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“According to international humanitarian law, they are subject to the legal status of combatants.”

He added that all members of the armed forces who are captured by the occupiers enjoy the rights of prisoners of war. In particular, it is forbidden to commit violence, intimidation or inhuman treatment.

Mr. Nikolenko went on to say: “The so-called ‘trial’ of the UAF servicemen in the occupied Ukrainian territories is worthless. Such public trials place propaganda above law and morality, undermine the mechanisms for the return of prisoners of war.

The Ukrainian government will continue its efforts to free all detainees – who were fighting for Ukraine – he said.

Lamiat SabinJune 9, 2022 9:50 p.m.

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ICYMI: Death Sentences of Britons Fighting for Ukraine Condemned by Truss

Two British soldiers captured by Russian forces while fighting for Ukraine have been sentenced to death by pro-Moscow rebels in what Foreign Secretary Liz Truss described as a “fictitious judgment”.

Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, were found guilty of taking steps towards a violent power grab in a court in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.

Chiara GiordanoJune 9, 2022 9:25 p.m.

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Britons sentenced to death in ‘Soviet-era show trial’ after fighting for Ukraine

Ministers have demanded the release of two Britons sentenced to death by pro-Russian separatists in what has been described as a “Soviet-era show trial”.

Moscow has been accused of breaching the Geneva Convention for the treatment of Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, who were captured while fighting with Ukrainian forces.

Our Deputy Political Editor Rob Merrick has the whole story:

Chiara GiordanoJune 9, 2022 9:05 p.m.

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Russians are ‘dying like flies’ as street battles rage in Sievierodonetsk, eastern Ukraine, governor says

Ukrainian forces hold their positions in intense street fighting in the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, where Russians are “dying like flies”, the region’s governor said, but they face a “catastrophic” lack of artillery.

The battle amid the ruins of Sievierodonetsk, a small industrial town, became one of the bloodiest of the war, with Russia concentrating its invasion force there. Both sides say they inflicted massive casualties.

In the south, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it captured new ground in a counterattack in Kherson province, targeting most of the territory Russia has seized since its invasion.

Chiara GiordanoJune 9, 2022 8:30 p.m.

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Government pressures Russia to sentence British soldiers to death, says Therese Coffey

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the government was pressuring Russia over the death sentences handed down to the two Britons captured by Moscow forces.

She told BBC Radio 4 PM program: “I know that we are making the strongest possible representations to the Russian government.”

Chiara GiordanoJune 9, 2022 8:10 p.m.

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UK calls for release of Britons on death row in ‘disgusting Soviet-style show trial’

Robert Jenrick has called for Russia’s ambassador to the UK to be summoned to the Foreign Office over the ‘disgusting Soviet-style show trial’ of two British soldiers sentenced to death by pro-Russian separatists.

Aiden Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire, and Shaun Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, were captured earlier in the war while fighting with the Ukrainian army. A court in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic today announced their death sentences.

Mr Jenrick, the Tory MP for Mr Aslin’s constituency, told ITV he had asked the Foreign Secretary to summon the Russian ambassador to ‘make it clear that you cannot treat British citizens of this way and get away with it”.

He added on Twitter: “This disgusting Soviet-style show trial is the latest reminder of the depravity of Putin’s regime. Russia should be clear, they can’t treat British citizens like this and get away with it.

“Contrary to Kremlin propaganda, Aiden Aslin is not a mercenary. He lived in Ukraine and served in its armed forces before the illegal invasion of Russia and, as a prisoner of war, he is entitled to protection under the Geneva Convention.

“The Russian Ambassador should be summoned to the Foreign Office to report on this most egregious violation of the Geneva Convention. Aiden must be released as soon as possible.

Chiara GiordanoJune 9, 2022 7:48 p.m.

Christi C. Elwood