‘Pathetic spectacle’ Russian TV host gloats at fighters’ death sentences in chilling video
Russian TV host discusses Brits Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner
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In a bone-chilling appearance, Russian-state TV host Artyom Sheynin made fun of the two UK soldiers, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who fought alongside Ukraine’s forces and have been sentenced to death today on charges of terrorism and acts of mercenaries. Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner’s sentences were handed down by a court, which is not internationally recognised, in Donetsk – one of the two Donbas’ provinces officially recognised as independent by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin before his invasion of Ukraine. According to Interfax, they were found guilty of “mercenary activities and committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order of the DRP.”
Speaking on state TV Russia1, Mr Sheynin mocked the two British citizens’ fate, saying: “You know, the difference between how cheerful and confident those Britons looked when they arrived there to fight.
“There is a very symbolic picture. All those Azov regiment fighters, all those soldiers from the Ukrainian armed forces, all those heroes, all those mercenaries. They look like that, so confident and formidable!”
Displaying photos showing the contrast between smiling soldiers and the two UK nationals in the court, Mr Sheynin said: “Inspiring Ukraine that all of the most formidable lads like that gathered there to fight for the motherland.
“But afterwards when they end up where they all should, where they all end up sooner or later, they’ll look like this, like those men today”, he mocked in a spine-chilling address to Russian viewers.”
“And that’s what they looked like before they ended up in the dock. In the dock, they were an even more pathetic spectacle!”, Mr Sheynin said.
Russia’s Tass news agency reports that the two men’s lawyers said they wish to appeal the sentence. A Moroccan national was also sentenced to death.
The two Britons were already serving the Ukrainian marine before enrolling in the war in Donbas where they were captured by Russian soldiers. With their official soldier status, they should be protected under the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war.
According to the Convention, “Prisoners of wars must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss “utterly” condemned the sentencing of both men in a tweet, saying: “There are prisoners of wars. This is a sham judgement with absolutely no legitimacy.”
Conservative MP Robert Jenrick joined Secretary Truss in condemning the sentencing. The MP of the sentenced soldier Mr Aslin, Mr Jenrick told Sky News: “This is an extremely concerning situation… it really has been a fraudulent show trial. We shouldn’t give it any credibility whatsoever. There is no evidence to back up these charges.”
Military analysts argue Vladimir Putin is leveraging the trial as a negotiating ploy and as hostage diplomacy to extract concessions from Western countries.
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During the trial appearing behind bars, Mr Aslin said: “I was hoping the sentence would be a lot fairer judging the circumstances in which I helped the investigation and also because I surrendered to the Donetsk’s People Republic. I wish it could be different but God will be the one that will judge me when the time comes.”
This sentencing marks the first court case to be handed down in one of the Russian-backed separatist regions.
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