Donetsk Trial: British mercenary sentenced to death

Donetsk Trial: British mercenary sentenced to death

 Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, both British citizens, were sentenced to death by the Donetsk Court, Thursday (9/6/2022). Both were found guilty of fighting on the side of Ukraine as mercenaries trying to seize power by force. Shaun Pinner warns everyone not to jump into battle, as long as he doesn't understand the situation. "Don't go to war, you don't really understand," said Shaun Pinner, quoted by Russia Today, Friday (10/6/2022). Shaun Pinner asked people to consider joining the war against Russian troops. "Don't get into a war you don't really understand," he warned. In addition to Pinner and Aslin, the Donetsk Court also sentenced Moroccan Saadun Ibrahim to death. 

All three were found guilty of acting as mercenaries and attempting to seize power by force in the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR). They are also accused of undergoing training to carry out terrorist activities on the territory of the country, which Russia recognized in February. Kiev, and much of the world, considers it a breakaway province of Ukraine. Under a DPR law, forcible seizure of power carries a sentence of between 12 and 20 years behind bars. However, the sentence may be increased to the death penalty due to the aggravating circumstances of the war. Acting as a mercenary is punishable by a prison term of three to seven years. The three men were tried on several criminal charges. They pleaded guilty to conducting training for the purpose of carrying out terrorist activities. They also tried to forcibly overthrow the government in Donetsk, but denied being mercenaries hired by Kiev. 

Convicts can appeal the decision in court, which they are planning, or seek pardon from the chairman of the DPR. If they win the appeal, the death penalty can be reduced to up to 25 years in prison. According to the DPR law, the death penalty is carried out by firing squad. The three men were arrested in or near Mariupol, a port city that the DPR claims as part of its sovereign territory. There was intense fighting for weeks and finally the siege of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers at the Azovsta steel mill.
They then surrendered unconditionally to Russian troops and the DPR. The British government has demanded that its citizens be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. However, Britain was not officially at war with the House of Representatives. 

Authorities in the House say they regard them as mercenaries, who are not granted the same privileges as ordinary combatants under international law. In an exclusive interview with RussiaToday television, conducted shortly before the sentence was announced, Pinner called on the would-be mercenary to come to terms with reality. They could be tried and – in the worst case scenario – possibly get the death penalty, and warned them not to complain when that happened. Pinner reveals throughout his time in Donetsk detention the many things and experiences that were eye-opening for him. "Some people do want to be part of Russia, and you have to accept it," he said. 

Now, Pinner said, once he saw Donetsk's face, the war would be over, no matter what happened to him. He also revealed he wanted to learn more about the history of both sides. Pinner said his decision to join Ukraine was driven by several factors: his Ukrainian wife did not want to move to the UK. He could not find a job to support his family. Nine years into the British military, Pinner decided to sign a three-year contract with the Ukrainian armed forces that would also give him a place to stay in Ukraine. Being a “Ukrainian patriot,” the Brit decided it would be a good opportunity to give Ukraine something and, of course, receive something in return. He revealed the standard salary of a contractor at the point of permanent deployment is the equivalent of 360 British pounds, which can be raised to around £1,000 for participating in military operations. According to Pinner, the emphasis of military training is primarily on cleaning and maintaining military equipment with not much actual military training. 

There were a few foreigners in his unit, the Englishman revealed, but three of them left last year, just left. At first Pinner was not very active in combat, until February when the Russians attacked, he was fully involved in the fighting every day. Detention and interrogation have been a very, very difficult experience for Pinner, especially the conditions of solitude and the restrictions placed on him. He said during interrogation he was shown gruesome photos, which allegedly depict the abuse of Russian prisoners of war by Ukrainian militants. "I couldn't grumble, I didn't get shot and I still have all my limbs and my fingers," the British man said.
He expressed hope he and other foreigners being tried as mercenaries would be exchanged for Russian captives. 

When asked what he plans to do after his contract with the Ukrainian military expires, Pinner said he and his family intend to move to Britain and start a new life there. Earlier this month, Russia's military spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, claimed the number of foreign fighters in Ukraine had fallen from 6,600 to 3,500. Konashenkov detailed that hundreds of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine had been destroyed by Russian long-range precision weapons at their arrival rallies. Most of the mercenaries, according to Konashenko, died due to low levels of training and lack of combat experience. Because of this, Konashenkov claims, since early May, the influx of foreign mercenaries to Ukraine has stopped.

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