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G7 leaders condemn ‘sham’ trials for Britons fighting in Ukraine

World leaders at the G7 summit in Germany have condemned the ‘sham’ trials which saw death sentences handed to two Britons for fighting Russian forces in Ukraine (PA)
World leaders at the G7 summit in Germany have condemned the ‘sham’ trials which saw death sentences handed to two Britons for fighting Russian forces in Ukraine (PA)

World leaders have condemned the “sham” trials which saw death sentences handed to two Britons for fighting Russian forces in Ukraine.

Aiden Aslin, 28, originally from Newark in Nottinghamshire, and Shaun Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, have been treated as foreign “mercenaries” by pro-Russian authorities in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), who handed down the sentences to the men who were fighting for the Ukrainian army.

Leaders at the G7 summit in Germany condemned the trials as they urged Russia to comply with its obligations under international law.

Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner were both living in Ukraine before the invasion and the UK Government has insisted that, as legitimate members of the Ukrainian armed forces, they should be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.

Boris Johnson and his fellow G7 leaders made reference to death sentences handed to members of the Ukrainian armed forces, without explicitly referring to the cases of the two Britons.

The G7 statement on Ukraine said: “Russia and its proxies must respect international humanitarian law, including the rights and protections afforded to prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.

“We condemn the sham ‘trials’ resulting in application of the death sentence to members of the Ukrainian armed forces.”

The G7 statement follows condemnation by the United Nations human rights watchdog, which described the sentences as a “war crime”.

The two Britons and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim were captured while reportedly defending the southern port city of Mariupol.

The statement issued by G7 leaders at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps came after they were addressed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who appeared via video-link from Kyiv.

The seven leaders of the UK, US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy promised to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes”.

They said: “We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.

“As we do so, we commit to demonstrate global responsibility and solidarity through working to address the international impacts of Russia’s aggression, especially on the most vulnerable.”