(Left to right) Andrew Hill, Dylan Healy and John Harding are all said to be being held in the Donetsk People’s Republic (Picture: East2West/SWNS)
Three Brits look set to stand trial in a Russian-occupied Ukraine court after being accused of working as mercenaries.
John Harding, Cambridgeshire aid worker Dylan Healy, 22, and military volunteer Andrew Hill will be tried in the Moscow-backed Supreme Court of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Russian state news agency Tass claimed.
They are expected to stand trial alongside a Swedish and a Croatian man as ‘foreign citizens accused of mercenarism’, a court representative is reported to have said.
According to Tass, the three Britons are refusing to co-operate with investigators.
Prosecutors claim all five were members of the notorious Azov battalion and other military units captured in Mariupol.
Amnesty International and the UK Foreign Office have strongly condemned the proceedings.
It comes after the Donetsk court sentenced British men Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner to death last month in what the Foreign Office branded ‘sham judgements’.
Andrew Hill was seemingly shown on Russian state TV after being held (Picture: east2west news)
Dylan Healy was reportedly captured by Russian forces while doing charity work (Picture: SWNS)
John Harding appealed to the British Government for help in an interview
The European Court of Human Rights was forced to intervene and told Moscow that it should make sure the death penalties imposed on Mr Aslin, 28, originally from Newark in Nottinghamshire, and Mr Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, were not carried out.
Tass reported that one of the latest Brits court up in legal wranglings, 60-year-old Mr Harding, said he fought for the Kurds in Syria on the Kurdish side but denied killing anyone.
According to the BBC, he is an ex-serviceman Mr Harding, originally from Sunderland, who moved to Ukraine in 2018 and appealed to the British Government for help in a video.
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.
The Foreign Office is understood to be actively investigating and providing support to the men’s families.
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A spokeswoman 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.’
Amnesty International UK last month criticised Moscow for ‘exploiting’ the men’s capture.
The charity’s crisis response manager Kristyan Benedict said: ‘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.’
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