Second British soldier captured in Mariupol is paraded on Russian TV

A second British soldier fighting with the Ukrainian army has been paraded on Russian television after being captured in the besieged city of Mariupol.

Shaun Pinner said he had been fighting alongside Ukrainian marines when Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded nearly eight weeks ago.

The 48-year-old former British soldier appeared tired and bruised in a short propaganda video aired by Russian media on Saturday night.

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.”

It is not known when the video was filmed or what led to Pinner’s capture. He was fighting alongside his friend Aiden Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire, who is thought to have surrendered to the Russian military last week after his battalion ran out of ammunition.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been in contact with the men’s families to support them. However, the UK’s ability to provide consular assistance or obtain information about British citizens in Ukraine is extremely limited owing to the war.

Pinner, originally from Bedfordshire, is believed to have moved to Ukraine four years ago and lived with his wife in Donbas. The former Royal Anglian Regiment soldier said in January that he was based in trenches 10 miles outside Mariupol.

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.”

Pinner also spoke of his fear of capture: “I fear for my life. The Russians will treat us differently if we are captured because we are British. This is always on my mind, that I will be captured.”

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: “I was holding out after Aiden was captured that maybe no news was good news for Shaun. He was in a different unit than Aiden but they were both in Mariupol.

“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.”

Pihajlic, a former US marine, said he last spoke to Aslin and Pinner when they were joining the Ukrainian resistance and that he was praying for their safe release.

However, he said: “Putin has already broken all the Geneva conventions while he’s cluster-bombing city centres full of civilians. They’re committing acts of terror throughout Ukraine. Now beating up prisoners of war is breaking Geneva conventions. They just don’t seem to care.”

In January, Pinner said fighting in the trenches was “like hell”, with snipers frighteningly close. He added: “Separatists are now using drones to drop bombs and mortars – along with automatic grenade launchers and [shoulder-fired] RPG rockets. Snipers are always present and there’s small-arms fire almost daily.”

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