Shaun Pinner: British ex-soldier captured by Russia in Mariupol and paraded on state TV

Former British soldier, 48, had been fighting alongside Ukraine marines against Russian invaders

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Monday 18 April 2022 10:24 BST

Related video: Car driving through Mariupol captures scale of destruction in war-torn city

A second British fighter who had been serving alongside Ukrainian troops has been paraded on Russian state TV after his capture in Mariupol.

Shaun Pinner, a 48-year-old former British soldier, had been fighting alongside Ukrainian marines against Russian forces who invaded almost two months ago.

He appeared in a short propaganda video aired by Russian media on Saturday night. In the video, he says: “Hi, I’m Shaun Pinner. I am a citizen of the UK. I was captured in Mariupol. I am part of the 36 Brigade First Battalion Ukrainian Marines.

“I was fighting in Mariupol for five to six weeks and now I’m in Donetsk People’s Republic.”

Mr Pinner, originally from Bedfordshire, was fighting alongside his friend Aiden Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire, the first British volunteer to be captured by Russian forces.

Mr Aslin is the first British volunteer captured by Russian forces

Mr Pinner reportedly moved to Ukraine four years ago and lived with his wife in Donbas, where he fought Kremlin-backed separatists before Russia launched its full-scale invasion.

He told the Mail on Sunday in January: “I am here defending my family and adopted city. Russia started this war. It’s funded by Russia and driven by Russia, but we will fight them, make no mistake about that.”

An image shared on Mr Aslin’s Twitter account, which is currently being run by one of his friends, showed the Briton in handcuffs, with damage to his eyes and forehead.

A caption on the Twitter post said: “Just got this, it looks as if they have gotten ahold of Aiden.”

Mr Aslin moved to Ukraine in 2018 and later joined the nation’s armed forces, but was forced to surrender two days ago after Russian attacks cut off supplies and ammunition to the besieged port city.

This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Jayson Pihajlic, who fought against Islamic State alongside Pinner and Aslin in the Syrian Democratic Forces, said the men were “standard bearers for democracy” who were fighting “as volunteers, not mercenaries”.

He told The Guardian: “It’s horrible to see. They’re obviously being beaten up and that’s the least we can say – who knows what else is going on.

“They’re being labelled as mercenaries, but these guys are not mercenaries – they are proper, uniformed, Ukrainian soldiers.”

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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