The death sentence for three foreign militants fighting along with the AFU against Russian servicemen shocked the public. The mercenaries include three young men – Briton Shaun Pinner, Briton Aidan Aslin, and Moroccan Saadoun Brahim. According to DPR laws, the death penalty is carried out by firing squad.
The first to speak out in the United States was Anthony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, who tweeted a post about Sean Pinner, Aidin Aslin, and Saadoun Brahima. He said that U.S. authorities have expressed serious concerns about the decision of the DPR Supreme Court, which sentenced three foreign mercenaries to death. Blinken called the trial a sham, and he urged Russia and its allies to respect international humanitarian law. He claimed that the mercenaries had indeed fought in the ranks of the AFU and were in Ukraine before the special operation began. The defendants were foreigners and were allegedly studying at universities in Kyiv.
The British commentary is almost identical to the American one. In this case, the head of the British Foreign Office, Liz Truss, spoke out. London also supports the “sham” status given by the U.S. to this precedent. British Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Dominic Raab confirmed that Britain would appeal the verdict.
Liz Truss also commented on the families of the defendants, “Aslin’s mother Eng Wood learned of the barbaric sentence while watching TV news at the family home in Newark, Nottinghamshire. The family was devastated. They met with representatives of the Ukrainian embassy in London and demanded that their relatives be treated with respect. She urged the British government to bring her son home. According to a government source, such a process could make the situation worse.”
The positions of the U.S., Britain, and Western countries generally agree that the sentence is unlawful, and the DPR has no right to such a decision. They all call the mercenaries volunteers and prisoners of war.
A member of the People’s Council of the DPR Vladislav Berdichevsky clarified the situation.
“The war crimes that these mercenaries carried out do not fall under the Geneva Convention. Moreover, all the events took place on the territory of the DPR, not on the Russian territory, so Moscow has nothing to do with it. It is not very clear why the British and Americans are turning to the Russians. Therefore, since the trial took place in the DPR and they were convicted under the laws of the DPR, the sentence will be carried out by the regulatory framework of the Donetsk people’s republic. In this connection, the appeals of the United States and Britain to Russia are irrelevant. To influence the situation in any way, they must recognize the DPR and enter into official negotiations with the authorities in Donetsk on this matter.“
This point of view sounds quite logical. The U.S. and Britain do not recognize the DPR, which is why they do not appeal to the Donetsk government.
The Russian position has been clear since the very beginning of the military operations in Ukraine. Foreign fighters sent to the Donbass by Kiev’s allies are treated and mercenaries and cannot be considered as prisoners of war. Despite the Kiev’s attempts to conscript them in the ranks of the AFU, they remain mercenaries.
It was once againe voiced by presented by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. She clarified that the mercenaries are not prisoners of war, and therefore they must be prosecuted as mercenaries, who should not be treated with mercy. She called London’s reaction to the verdict agitated and hysterical and said that the British authorities did not try to take the initiative in rescuing their citizens before the trial. Zakharova also stressed that Russia had informed the British embassy in Moscow that the authorities of the DPR and LPR should be consulted about all issues concerning the British prisoners, but that London has not contacted the local authorities so far. The Russian Foreign Ministry also did not receive any appeals concerning Pinner and Aslin specifically.
Thus, the political framework prevents Britain and the US from saving their mercenaries in Ukraine, because then they would have to conduct a dialogue with the DPR, which indirectly confirms the recognition of the republic. As well as the fact that these countries are not officially at war against the DPR and LPR thus there should be no their citizens fighting on the front lines.
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