Russia’s sham republic in Donetsk Oblast, the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic or DPR, has started to subject five foreign defenders of Ukraine to a show trial, according to a report by Kremlin propaganda outlet RIA Novosti on Aug 15.
The five, Mathias Gustafsson (Sweden), Vjekoslav Prebeg (Croatia), John Harding (UK), Andrew Hill (UK) and Dylan Healy (UK) were captured while serving under contract with the armed forces of Ukraine. Any attempt to prosecute them for participating in hostilities would be a breach of the Geneva Conventions.
Officials from the sham Donetsk republic have falsely described the foreign fighters as "mercenaries" and threatened to execute three of them – Gustafsson, Prebeg and Harding.
Interfax writes that the next stage of the illegal trial of the foreign citizens will begin in October.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine previously stated that all foreign citizens and stateless people participating in hostilities in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were voluntarily recruited for service via contract in accordance with Ukrainian legislation. They have the legal status of combatants.
DPR militants on June 9 announced that they had “sentenced” to death two British citizens – Aiden Eslin and Sean Pinner – as well as a Moroccan citizen, Brahim Saadoun, who had been captured while serving in the Ukrainian armed forces.
All three had joined the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine even before the start of the full-scale invasion of Russia.
In early July, it was reported that the invaders were threatening to execute two more British citizens, Andrew Hill and Dylan Healy.
London condemned Russia’s exploitation of prisoners of war for political gain.