British citizens who fought on the side of Ukraine told in an interview with the Daily Mail about torture in Russian captivity. According to the British, beatings in custody could last for several hours: the prisoners were shocked, stabbed and subjected to a mock death penalty.
On the evening of September 22, five released British citizens – Aiden Eslin, Sean Pinner, John Harding, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill – returned to their homeland. This was achieved through the mediation of Saudi Arabia; foreign volunteers became part of a wider prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine.
The release did not wait for the British volunteer Paul Ury, who died in captivity of the so-called “DPR” in July.
According to British citizens who fought on the side of Kyiv, they spent two days on the road before their liberation: first, they were transported from Eastern Ukraine to an unknown destination for “about 20 hours”, presumably to Russia – “bandaged with tape on the floor of a truck”, with tied eyes. Then they were taken to Saudi Arabia, where they provided medical assistance and were met by representatives of the British Consulate. From there they flew home.
Britons say they were “given real food” aboard a flight to Saudi Arabia for the first time in months: “We had beef and rice, chicken, spring rolls,” says John Harding. According to him, he lost a lot of weight in prison. He and several other prisoners were kept in a cramped prison cell, locked up for 23 hours a day.
Harding spoke of “very inventive” torture in captivity: according to him, the guards turned an old telephone into a torture device – prisoners of war were ordered to dial a number, and when the dial turned, they were shocked.
“There were beatings, electric shocks and more beatings. One guy was stabbed in the leg, after which he was sewn up. I think we were tortured for fun,” Harding said. According to him, the beatings could last for several hours.
The publication writes that the British were also subjected to psychological torture. According to Harding, the guards forced him to record a farewell video for his daughter before being shot.
Sentenced to death in the so-called “DPR” Aiden Eslin said in an interview that in captivity he was stabbed by prison guards and was subjected to a mock execution.
On June 9, the authorities of the so-called “DNR” sentenced to death Britons Aiden Aslin and Sean Pinner who fought on the territory of Donbass as part of the Ukrainian troops. They were accused of “mercenarism” and “committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order of the ‘DNR’.”
Dylan Hilly, according to investigators in the so-called “DPR”, arrived in Ukraine in March 2022 “from Poland under the guise of a Red Cross volunteer”, since that time he allegedly “transported foreign mercenaries from Poland to Ukraine.”
Andrew Hill arrived in Ukraine in mid-March 2022. According to investigators, he “went to courses at a training center for foreign mercenaries in Kyiv” and “participated in hostilities in the DPR,” where he was wounded and taken prisoner on April 25.
Three more British citizens – John Harding, Dylan Hilly and Andrew Hill – were charged with the same articles and faced the death penalty.
A British citizen Aiden Aslin, during a trip to Ukraine, met his future bride and stayed in the country, and in 2018 took the oath and began serve in the 36th Marine Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Together with Eslin in captivity turned out to be his friend, 48-year-old former military officer of the Royal Anglian Regiment, Sean Pinner. In 2018, like Eslin, he officially joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine and served in the 36th Marine Brigade. British-born John Harding was reported to have been at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol since the start of the war.
Briton Paul Ury, who died in captivity, was 45 years old. The “DPR” authorities first reported that he died “due to illness and stress”, then the cause of death was called “acute coronary insufficiency, complicated by pulmonary and cerebral edema.”
Po data Ukrainian service of the BBC, Uri was a volunteer, collaborated with the public organization Presidium Network and helped Ukrainians during the war. Paul Ury’s family blamed the Russian government and those directly holding him captive for his death. According to them, they know for certain that at the time of the arrest, Paul had insulin with him – he suffered from type 1 diabetes.