Ukraine: Russian-backed forces launch 5 Britons held captive, Truss says

5 British nationals captured in Ukraine and held by Russian-backed forces are being returned to their households, prime minister Liz Truss has revealed.

“Massively welcome information that 5 British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in jap Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and struggling for them and their households,” she tweeted.

Aiden Aslin, a British fighter who had been sentenced to loss of life by a pro-Russian court docket, is amongst these freed, his MP Robert Jenrick mentioned.

He tweeted: “Aiden’s return brings to an finish months of agonising uncertainty for Aiden’s loving household in Newark who suffered every single day of Aiden’s sham trial however by no means misplaced hope. As they’re united as a household as soon as extra, they’ll lastly be at peace.”

Mr Aslin, 28 moved to Ukraine in 2018 and later joined the nation’s armed forces.

The Saudi international ministry mentioned Russia launched 10 international prisoners of warfare following a mediation by the nation’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The checklist consists of American, British, Croatian, Moroccan and Swedish nationals, the ministry mentioned, and {that a} airplane carrying the prisoners landed within the kingdom.

“The related Saudi authorities obtained and transferred them from Russia to the dominion and are facilitating procedures for his or her respective nations,” the assertion mentioned.

The ministry didn’t determine the prisoners. A Saudi official mentioned 5 have been Britons, two People, one was Croatian, one Morrocan and one a Swedish nationwide.

It’s not but recognized whether or not the 5 embrace Shaun Pinner, 48, who was captured alongside Mr Aslin and in addition sentenced to loss of life in Donetsk, one in all Russia’s proxies in jap Ukraine.

Each Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner have been understood to have been residing in Ukraine earlier than it was invaded and have been members of standard Ukrainian army items in Mariupol.

Prince Mohammed has maintained shut ties with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, together with throughout the framework of the OPEC+ oil producers group, regardless of heavy stress from Washington, Riyadh’s conventional ally, to isolate Russia.

Ms Truss thanked Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky “for his efforts to safe the discharge of detainees, and Saudi Arabia for his or her help”.

“Russia should finish the ruthless exploitation of prisoners of warfare and civilian detainees for political ends,” she added.

Overseas secretary James Cleverly mentioned: “This brings to an finish many months of uncertainty and struggling, together with the specter of the loss of life penalty, for them and their households, by the hands of Russia.

“Tragically that was not the case for a kind of detained, and our ideas stay with the household of Paul Urey.”

The British support volunteer died earlier this 12 months whereas being held by Russian-backed separatists.

“I proceed to name on Russia to adjust to Worldwide Humanitarian Legislation and never exploit prisoners of warfare and civilian detainees for political functions,” Mr Cleverly mentioned.

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