Two more Britons in Ukraine charged with being mercenaries

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Two more Britons have been accused of being mercenaries after being captured by Russians in Ukraine.

State media reported that the couple were captured by Moscow forces in separatist-held territory.

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Cambridgeshire development worker Dylan Healy, 22, and military volunteer Andrew Hill have been accused of engaging in “mercenary activities,” officials in the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic said, according to Tass, the Russian state news agency.

The outlet claimed both men refused to cooperate with investigators.

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It comes after a video aired on Russian TV in April showed an English-accented man who appeared to give his name as Andrew Hill, from Plymouth.

Dylan Healy who was reportedly charged by Russian forces in Ukraine. SWNS

What charges are they facing and what would the punishment be?

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Mr Healy and Mr Hill are being charged with “mercenary activities”, according to Russian state media.

Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner have been sentenced to death in Donetsk.

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It is feared that Mr Healy and Mr Hill could meet the same fate.

What did the British government say?

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The British government has not yet reacted to the news that Mr Healy and Mr Hill have been charged in Donetsk.

However, they had previously stressed that Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner lived in Ukraine before the invasion and the government insisted that as legitimate members of the Ukrainian armed forces they should be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.

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What does the Geneva Convention say about prisoners of war?

The Geneva Convention, passed in 1949, established rules for the treatment of captured troops.

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Prisoners of war (PoW) for the purposes of the Conventions are defined as follows: “Members of the armed forces of a party to the conflict and members of militia or volunteer corps forming part of such forces.

“Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those organized resistance movements, belonging to a party to the conflict and operating on or outside their own territory, even if that territory is occupied.

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“Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or agency not recognized by the Detaining Power.”

The Geneva Convention states that PoW “shall be treated humanely at all times”.

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It goes on to say: “Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power which causes the death of or seriously endangers the health of a prisoner of war in his custody is prohibited and shall be regarded as a serious breach of this Convention.”

The USSR ratified the Geneva Convention in 1954, and Russia remains a signatory to most of the accords — it revoked the Protocol on Victims of War Crimes in 2019.

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Could the European Court of Human Rights intervene?

It was announced this week that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has intervened in the cases of Mr Aslin and Mr Pinne.

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

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