Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Amy Sharpe

Freed British hostages tortured by Russia reunited and honoured at Ukraine Embassy

Five British PoWs tortured in Ukraine stand proudly together with loved ones – reunited for the first time since their return to the UK.

Ambassadors invited them to the Embassy of Ukraine in London to mark Defenders Day, honouring veterans and fallen members of the armed forces.

They were thanked by Ukrainian military, had beers and a barbecue and were invited to drink a shot of vodka “for the people who didn’t make it back”.

Dylan Healy raised a glass to Paul Urey – a former cellmate feared to have suffered “unspeakable torture” before dying in captivity.

Dylan, 22, said: “I thought of Paul in that moment. My shot was for Paul and a couple of other guys who sadly passed.

“We were there for at least three hours celebrating Ukraine’s cause. The welcome was like we were family friends of 20 years. They made it clear they would help if we needed anything.”

Get all the latest news sent to your inbox. Sign up for the free Mirror newsletter

British war prisoners Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were sentenced to death in June (TV Zvezda/east2west news)

It was a poignant moment as Dylan shook the hands of fellow PoWs Aiden Aslin, 28, Shaun Pinner, 48, John Harding, 59, and Andrew Hill, 35.

“It was full on hugs,” Dylan said.

“It was good to hear how everyone’s getting on. Shaun was excited because his [Ukrainian] wife has flown into the country. We’re all going through the debrief stages still. That’s the common ground.

“Some are looking to work, but people like Andy [who was shot in the arm] can’t. We’ve all been through a lot but the tone was positive – looking to the future.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky marked Defenders Day by thanking troops (AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan admitted the reunion was bittersweet without dad of four Paul, 45, whose funeral took place in his hometown of Warrington, Cheshire, on Thursday.

The pair were working to extract Ukrainian civilians when they were captured by Russian forces in May.

Paul’s daughters Chelsea, 21, and Courtney Coman, 17, invited Dylan to attend his send-off.

Last month we told how Dylan had met the sisters to answer their questions about how diabetic Paul was treated before his death, which Russia attributed to medical causes.

Paul Urey died fighting in Ukraine (PA)

He delivered a message from Paul saying how much he loved his girls.

Dylan, of Eastbourne , East Sussex, said: “It was fulfilling to be at the funeral and to say to Paul ‘I did my best and at least you’re back now’. I spent 90 minutes speaking to his family.

“They all had questions and told me they were really thankful I made it back. They said I’m one of their family now. It might be the start of their closure, but different people need closure in different ways.”

Aiden Aslin (right) and Shaun Pinner (left) (Aiden Aslin (right) and Shaun Pinner (left))

Dylan plans to return to his job as a chef initially, before pursuing a career in the public sector.

He added: “I’ve always been the sort of person to get on with things. Psychologically, I think I am the same as before, but it’s good to have highly trained psychologists on hand when I need it.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky marked Defenders Day by thanking troops, promising victory over Russia’s President Putin and vowing no soldier would be left in captivity.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.