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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Katie Weston

Two Brits captured by Russian forces in Ukraine 'charged with being mercenaries'

Two British men have been captured by Moscow's forces in Ukraine and charged with being mercenaries, according to Russian state media.

Cambridgeshire aid worker Dylan Healy, 22, and military volunteer Andrew Hill have been charged with carrying out "mercenary activities", officials in the Moscow -backed Donetsk People's Republic said, reports Tass.

The outlet said both men were refusing to co-operate with investigators.

It comes after a video shown on Russian television in April featured a man speaking with an English accent who appeared to give his name as Andrew Hill from Plymouth.

Meanwhile, Mr Healy was reportedly kidnapped by Russian forces in south Ukraine in April.

Military volunteer and father-of-four Andrew Hill, from Plymouth, who has also been captured by Moscow's forces in Ukraine (Andrew Hill/east2west news)

He went to sixth-form college with friend Sophie Goldring, who says she had been keeping in touch with him over Snapchat.

She previously said: "He sent me a Snapchat of him driving. He said he was ok. Apart from that haven't heard from him which has now worried me. He wanted to [to Ukraine] to help. He wanted to do it."

Neighbours at Dylan's former home in Huntingdon said Dylan had worked odd jobs while in the area.

His Facebook page states that he works as a 3.5-tonne van driver and he is also known to have worked at a local hotel.

Dylan posted an update to friends on Facebook on March 15 saying that he was driving to Ukraine and had arrived in Poland.

A pro-Kremlin website said Mr Healy and Mr Hill would face the same mercenary charges as Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, two British military volunteers captured in Mariupol who have been given the death sentence in Donetsk.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on Thursday intervened in the case of Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner.

Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty International UK’s Crisis Response Manager, said: “As with Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Saaudun Brahim, this is a sham process designed to exert diplomatic pressure on the UK, not least as it comes shortly after Britain announced a large shipment of weapons for Ukraine.

“Under the Geneva Conventions, captured combatants and other protected persons should be humanely treated at all times.

“In exploiting their capture of Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill like this, Russia and its proxies in the Donetsk People’s Republic are already adding to a huge catalogue of war crimes they’re committing in this war.

“The chances of Healy and Hill receiving a fair trial in either the Donetsk People’s Republic or in Russia itself are vanishingly small.

“Unless the authorities present clear evidence that Healy and Hill are implicated in war crimes, this sham judicial process should be halted immediately.”

The Strasbourg-based court indicated to Moscow that it should ensure the death penalty imposed on Mr Aslin, 28, originally from Newark in Nottinghamshire, and Mr Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, is not carried out.

It came after the UK Government on Wednesday announced it was imposing sanctions on Russia's second richest man, Vladimir Potanin (REUTERS)

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

It came after the Government on Wednesday announced it was imposing sanctions on Russia's second richest man, Vladimir Potanin, and Vladimir Putin's cousin, Anna Tsivileva, in the latest round of measures targeting allies of the Russian leader.

Mr Potanin is the owner of the Interross conglomerate, while Ms Tsivileva is president of the JSC Kolmar Group coal mining company.

A Government statement said Mr Potanin has continued to amass wealth while backing President Putin's regime, acquiring Rosbank and shares in Tinkoff Bankonith in the period following the invasion of Ukraine.

Ms Tsivileva's husband, Sergey Tsivilev, is governor of the coal-rich Kemerovo region and the couple are said to have "significantly benefited" from their relationship with the Russian leader.

The Government said it is also sanctioning a group of Russian individuals and companies for their involvement in repressing civilians and supporting Bashar Assad's regime in Syria.

A Government spokesman said earlier this week: "As long as Putin continues his abhorrent assault on Ukraine, we will use sanctions to weaken the Russian war machine.

"Today's sanctions show that nothing and no-one is off the table, including Putin's inner circle."

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spokesperson said: “We condemn the exploitation of prisoners of war and civilians for political purposes and have raised this with Russia.

"We are in constant contact with the Government of Ukraine on their cases and are fully supportive of Ukraine in its efforts to get them released.”

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