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The family of a British prisoner of war captured in Mariupol have pleaded with the Kremlin to secure his rights after he was seen being taunted by a Russian TV reporter.

Ex-British Army soldier Shaun Pinner, 48, who is a Royal Anglian veteran, was today paraded on propaganda TV in Russia in a heavily-edited clip and was told his Ukrainian commanders wanted him to be killed as he fled a factory hideout in Mariupol.

Now, his family have released a statement in response to his capture, explaining how he became involved in the defence of Ukraine against the Russian invasion while calling for Shaun’s Russian captors to adhere to the Geneva Convention’s regulations regarding the treatment of POWs. 

‘Shaun was a well-respected soldier within the British Army serving in the Royal Anglian Regiment for many years. He served in many tours including Northern Ireland and with the United Nations in Bosnia,’ the statement read.

‘In 2018 Shaun decided to re-locate to Ukraine to use his previous experience and training within the Ukraine Military.

‘Shaun enjoyed the Ukrainian way of life and considered Ukraine as his adopted country over the last four years. During this time, he met his Ukrainian wife who is very focussed on the humanitarian needs of the country.

‘He progressed into the Ukrainian Marines as a proud member of his unit. At the end of 2022 his 3 year contract is due to end and he was planning to enter a humanitarian role within Ukraine.’

The statement continued: ‘We would like to make it clear he is not a volunteer nor a mercenary, but officially serving with the Ukrainian Army in accordance with Ukrainian Legislation.

‘Our family is currently working with the Foreign Office along with the family of Aiden Aslin who is also being held by the Russian Army to ensure their rights as Prisoners Of War are upheld according to the Geneva Convention.

‘Shaun is a funny, much loved well intentioned Husband, Son, Father, Brother and Friend to many. We are hoping for a quick resolution to allow Shaun and Aiden to return safely to their families and we ask for privacy at this difficult time.

‘Our hearts go out to all those caught up in this horrific conflict.’

Shaun Pinner, who served with the Royal Anglians and enlisted in the Marines in Ukraine after marrying a woman from the country, was captured by Russian forces while he was defending the besieged city of Mariupol

Shaun Pinner, who served with the Royal Anglians and enlisted in the Marines in Ukraine after marrying a woman from the country, was captured by Russian forces while he was defending the besieged city of Mariupol

Shaun Pinner, who served with the Royal Anglians and enlisted in the Marines in Ukraine after marrying a woman from the country, was captured by Russian forces while he was defending the besieged city of Mariupol 

The 48-year-old was interviewed by Andrey Rudenko (left) who is a pro-Kremlin journalist

The 48-year-old was interviewed by Andrey Rudenko (left) who is a pro-Kremlin journalist

The 48-year-old was interviewed by Andrey Rudenko (left) who is a pro-Kremlin journalist 

Pinner, who enlisted in the Marines in Ukraine after marrying his wife Larysa who is from the country, was told he could now be seen as an anti-Putin hero by the outside world. 

He is heard saying there was ‘panic’ as he was held after ending their siege in an industrial area of the blitzed city. 

His capture comes after Russia seized 28-year-old former care worker Aiden Aslin on Tuesday. He had also been fighting in Ukraine in the same trenches outside Mariupol as Pinner. 

‘We were in the factory area of Mariupol,’ he said in a newly released clip of an interview made in captivity.

‘It was Tuesday morning. It was decided we move from the factory, but we did not know exactly where. At about 4am we left the factory.’

There was ‘not much time to think,’ said Pinner.

After this, his words were subtitled in Russian but his original speech was not audible.   

Shaun Pinner, 48, was serving as a Marine in Ukraine, defending the key strategic port of Mariupol

Shaun Pinner, 48, was serving as a Marine in Ukraine, defending the key strategic port of Mariupol

Shaun Pinner, 48, was serving as a Marine in Ukraine, defending the key strategic port of Mariupol

Pinner served with the Royal Anglians and enlisted in the Marines in Ukraine after marrying his wife Larysa (pictured right), who is from the country

Pinner served with the Royal Anglians and enlisted in the Marines in Ukraine after marrying his wife Larysa (pictured right), who is from the country

Pinner served with the Royal Anglians and enlisted in the Marines in Ukraine after marrying his wife Larysa (pictured right), who is from the country

According to the subtitles, Pinner said: ‘It was very dark. We took the injured with us.

‘Mortar and artillery shelling began, military aviation worked. Panic began. Everyone started running in different directions.

‘My commander seems to have disappeared. I still don’t know what happened to those who were there with me.’

Interviewer Andrey Rudenko – a well-known Russian war reporter on pro-Kremlin state TV – claimed without citing direct evidence that his Ukrainian commanders wanted him and others killed by Vladimir Putin’s forces so they could be hailed as heroes in the propaganda battle against Moscow.

‘The servicemen of the 36th brigade say their command specially sent them to be killed in order to make heroes out of them later,’ Pinner was told.

Rudenko told an exhausted-looking Pinner: ‘You didn’t have a single chance to reach this settlement Zachatovka, since Russian and DPR troops were everywhere.’

In the event, he and other defenders were captured.

He reportedly told his Russians captors that 'he doesn't want war and wants to go home'

He reportedly told his Russians captors that 'he doesn't want war and wants to go home'

He reportedly told his Russians captors that ‘he doesn’t want war and wants to go home’

During the interview, Pinner was told he could be seen as an anti-Putin hero by the outside world

During the interview, Pinner was told he could be seen as an anti-Putin hero by the outside world

During the interview, Pinner was told he could be seen as an anti-Putin hero by the outside world 

According to the subtitles, Pinner said: 'It was very dark. We took the injured with us. 'Mortar and artillery shelling began, military aviation worked. Panic began. Everyone started running in different directions' (Pictured: Pinner with his wife Larysa)

According to the subtitles, Pinner said: 'It was very dark. We took the injured with us. 'Mortar and artillery shelling began, military aviation worked. Panic began. Everyone started running in different directions' (Pictured: Pinner with his wife Larysa)

According to the subtitles, Pinner said: ‘It was very dark. We took the injured with us. ‘Mortar and artillery shelling began, military aviation worked. Panic began. Everyone started running in different directions’ (Pictured: Pinner with his wife Larysa)

Pinner is heard replying to the claim that his Ukrainian commanders wanted him and others fleeing the factory to die: ‘I had no idea. You know more than me. I don’t particularly know anything…’

The report also quoted Pinner as saying – though his words were not audible in this broadcast: ‘I had no idea, we were abandoned.

‘I do not know who took such a decision. I do not know anything about the fate of the injured, who were left there.

‘I do not know what happened to the dead bodies.’ 

In an earlier interview, Pinner had identified himself and said: ‘I am a citizen of the United Kingdom.

‘I was captured in Mariupol. I am part of 36th brigade, 1st Battalion Ukrainian Marines…

‘I was fighting in Mariupol for five to six weeks and now I am in the Donetsk People’s Republic.’

Brit fighter Shaun Pinner has been captured by Russian forces after surrendering in Mariupol. He was paraded on Russian television looking clean-shaven with no visible wounds. He said on the broadcast: 'I am Shaun Pinner'

Brit fighter Shaun Pinner has been captured by Russian forces after surrendering in Mariupol. He was paraded on Russian television looking clean-shaven with no visible wounds. He said on the broadcast: 'I am Shaun Pinner'

Brit fighter Shaun Pinner has been captured by Russian forces after surrendering in Mariupol. He was paraded on Russian television looking clean-shaven with no visible wounds. He said on the broadcast: ‘I am Shaun Pinner’

In another clip suggesting he is caught up in Russia’s propaganda campaign against Ukraine and the West, he reportedly said that ‘he doesn’t want war and wants to go home’.

Pinner now faces interrogation by the Russian Investigative Committee. The committee is seen as an equivalent of the FBI and is run by Alexander Bastrykin, a university classmate of Vladimir Putin.

‘This is the second Englishman caught in Mariupol.’

His fate in the hands of the Russians and the separatist authorities in Donetsk remains uncertain. 

Prior to being captured in Ukraine, friends and family left well-wishes on Shaun’s Facebook page, where he had snapped a selfie in which he was dressed in combat garb, adorned with the Ukrainian flag.

‘Stay safe bro, love you,’ read one comment from sister Cassandra.

Other well wishers commented: ‘Thinking of you brother and those with you,’ while another one said: ‘Respect matey, stay safe, move fast keep low.’ 

His capture comes after Russia seized 28-year-old former care worker Aiden Aslin on Tuesday. He had also been fighting in Ukraine in the same trenches outside Mariupol as Pinner. 

There is concern for his safety amid fears that he could treated as a spy by the Kremlin. 

An image uploaded to his social media shows Aiden, 28, bruised, beaten and in handcuffs

An image uploaded to his social media shows Aiden, 28, bruised, beaten and in handcuffs

An image uploaded to his social media shows Aiden, 28, bruised, beaten and in handcuffs 

A second image, posted by a pro-Russia Telegram account, was closer to captured Aiden's cut

A second image, posted by a pro-Russia Telegram account, was closer to captured Aiden's cut

A second image, posted by a pro-Russia Telegram account, was closer to captured Aiden’s cut

In early March, around a week after Vladimir Putin launched his brutal invasion of Ukraine, Pinner gave a hard-hitting dispatch from near the front line, describing the situation as ‘chaos’.

At the time, he said he had endured a ‘week of intense fighting’.

Pinner also confirmed a number of his squad had died in the early days of the war, saying : ‘We’ve lost a couple of guys today’.

Mr Pinner filmed the dispatch as Vladimir Putin‘s men laid siege to Kyiv and other major Ukranian cities. In the video he does not reveal his location for security reasons. Since then, Russian forces have pulled back from the Kyiv region to refocus their efforts on the east of the country.  

The first British fighter captured in Mariupol was former care worker Aiden Aslin.

Russia’s state TV channels have broadcast suspect footage of Aslin being questioned by his captors after he was also forced to surrender in Mariupol.

Mr Aslin, 28, joined the Ukrainian marines four years ago. He has dual UK-Ukrainian citizenship and a Ukrainian fiancee, yet Russia appears determined to brand him an enemy agent rather than a prisoner of war.

The distinction is significant as under Russian law, those suspected of espionage face interrogation and lengthy prison sentences.

Whereas POWs are released at the end of hostilities, convicted spies may remain behind bars, perhaps until an exchange of agents can be arranged. 

Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov in southeastern Ukraine, has seen the worst fighting of the seven-week-long war. Home to 400,000 people before Russia's invasion, the city has been reduced to rubble by Russian shelling

Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov in southeastern Ukraine, has seen the worst fighting of the seven-week-long war. Home to 400,000 people before Russia's invasion, the city has been reduced to rubble by Russian shelling

Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov in southeastern Ukraine, has seen the worst fighting of the seven-week-long war. Home to 400,000 people before Russia’s invasion, the city has been reduced to rubble by Russian shelling 

Experts say the fall of Mariupol, seen as strategically vital for Russian plans to attack eastern Ukraine , is inevitable. But holdouts in their underground bases hope to make conquering the Sea of Azov port as hard as possible for the attackers. Pictured: An explosion is seen in an apartment building after Russian's army tank fires in Mariupol

Experts say the fall of Mariupol, seen as strategically vital for Russian plans to attack eastern Ukraine , is inevitable. But holdouts in their underground bases hope to make conquering the Sea of Azov port as hard as possible for the attackers. Pictured: An explosion is seen in an apartment building after Russian's army tank fires in Mariupol

Experts say the fall of Mariupol, seen as strategically vital for Russian plans to attack eastern Ukraine , is inevitable. But holdouts in their underground bases hope to make conquering the Sea of Azov port as hard as possible for the attackers. Pictured: An explosion is seen in an apartment building after Russian’s army tank fires in Mariupol

Service members of pro-Russian troops load rocket-propelled grenades into an infantry combat vehicle amid fighting near the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol

Service members of pro-Russian troops load rocket-propelled grenades into an infantry combat vehicle amid fighting near the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol

Service members of pro-Russian troops load rocket-propelled grenades into an infantry combat vehicle amid fighting near the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol

Mr Aslin, from Newark, Nottinghamshire, was paraded on TV with his face bruised. It is thought he is being held in a military detention facility.

Footage shows him being questioned by one of his captors off camera and he supposedly agrees with the suggestion that ‘those who stood with you [in Ukraine], they are killers’.

It remains unclear whether the recording was doctored for political purposes.

But last night Mr Aslin’s brother Nathan Wood said: ‘People should not believe anything the Russians say or are making my brother say. He is being held against his will and forced to say whatever they tell him to.

‘Anything that comes out of my brother’s mouth now, and the mouths of his Russian captors, are lies.’ 

Both Pinner and Aslin are believed to have been captured while fighting with Ukrainian soldiers to defence Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov in southeastern Ukraine.

The city has seen the worst fighting of the seven-week-long war. Home to 400,000 people before Russia’s invasion, the city has been reduced to rubble by seemingly indiscriminate Russian shelling.

Russian forces have in recent days made advances in Mariupol and issued a chilling warning to the final troops defending the besieged city. 

Russian servicemen (pictured) on Tuesday secured Mariupol's Drama Theatre which was destroyed in a missile strike on March 16

Russian servicemen (pictured) on Tuesday secured Mariupol's Drama Theatre which was destroyed in a missile strike on March 16

Russian servicemen (pictured) on Tuesday secured Mariupol’s Drama Theatre which was destroyed in a missile strike on March 16

At least 300 people died when Mariupol's drama theatre (pictured, Russian servicemen secure the destroyed building) was targeted in a Russian missile strike, despite being marked 'children'

At least 300 people died when Mariupol's drama theatre (pictured, Russian servicemen secure the destroyed building) was targeted in a Russian missile strike, despite being marked 'children'

At least 300 people died when Mariupol’s drama theatre (pictured, Russian servicemen secure the destroyed building) was targeted in a Russian missile strike, despite being marked ‘children’

Russia gave Ukrainian soldiers an ultimatum to ‘surrender or die’, urging them to lay down their arms by 6:00 am Moscow time (0300 GMT) and to evacuate before 13:00pm, on Sunday after the Russian Defence Ministry claimed their troops had cleared the urban area of the city – with only a small unit of Ukrainian fighters remaining in the giant Azovstal steelworks in the south-eastern port. 

In a statement, the defence ministry said: ‘The Russian Armed Forces offer the militants of nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries from 6am (Moscow time) on April 17, 2022, to stop any hostilities and lay down their arms. All who lay down their arms are guaranteed that their lives will be spared.’  

But with the last Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol refusing to surrender and accept Russia’s now-expired ultimatum,  the Ukrainian MP for Odesa, Oleksiy Goncharenko, told BBC News the last defenders will ‘fight until the end’.

He said: ‘I spoke with them yesterday, and I know that they’re going to fight until the end.’ 

It comes as there was deadly shelling in Kharkiv over the weekend, which led to five people being killed and 13 injured, according to regional health officials.  

Source: DailyMail

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