Russian ambassador confronted with message from captured Brit Shaun Pinner's family

29 July 2022, 18:37

Russian Ambassador Andrei Kelin speaks to Tom Swarbrick

By Will Taylor

LBC has confronted Russia's ambassador with a message from the distressed family of Shaun Pinner, the soldier who has been captured by pro-Kremlin forces.

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He faces the death penalty after a sham trial held by the separatist authorities in the Donetsk region, who branded him a mercenary.

Instead, Mr Pinner, 48, is an active member of the Ukrainian military who was captured fighting in Mariupol, a city left in ruins as Russians desperately tried to seize it to declare a significant win.

His family fear for his health and have not heard from him for weeks.

Russian ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin promised to pass on the information and said while he views Donetsk as a separate state "we have means to deliver this".

LBC's Tom Swarbrick read him the family message: "Mr Ambassador, we've not heard from Shaun for over nine weeks and are very worried about his health and wellbeing.

"Can you use your influence to allow Shaun to phone home at the very least please? This is very important to us at such a difficult time.

Mr Kelin said he would pass the message on to the Donetsk authorities
Mr Kelin said he would pass the message on to the Donetsk authorities. Picture: Alamy

Or could the International Committee of the Red Cross be allowed access to Shaun? They are an independent organisation, not politically motivated.

"We're just concerned about her boy and want to ensure he is safe and well."

Mr Kelin said: "The message has been taken, I will try to do my best to deliver it, but I can assure you that Red Cross is working constantly."

Read more: Putin's invasion of Ukraine an 'epic fail', says head of MI6

But he added: "This is not my authority over there, because there is a channel between the Kyiv authorities and the Donetsk authority.

"I'm not the ambassador in Donetsk, they have their own ambassador. This is a separate state, but we have means to deliver this and we are delivering them."

Mr Pinner, who is originally from Bedfordshire, was sentenced alongside fellow Brit Aiden Aslin, who is also part of the Ukrainian forces.

Shaun Pinner has been held by Donetsk separatists
Shaun Pinner has been held by Donetsk separatists. Picture: Social media

They are considered to be pawns in a Russian propaganda effort to exchange high value prisoners.

Both men were forced to beg for their lives in scripted phone calls with the media and family members.

Russia has refused to intervene by claiming the issue is for the Donetsk authorities, despite the breakaway region being recognised as a state by only Russia. In reality, they follow Moscow's line.

Speaking last month, after Mr Pinner was sentenced by the Donetsk separatists, his family said: "Firstly, our whole family is devastated and saddened at the outcome of the illegal show trial by the so-called Donetsk People's Republic.

Read more: EU agrees to ration gas use this winter over Russia supply fears

"As a Ukrainian resident for over four years and contracted serving Marine in the 36th Brigade, of which he is very proud, Shaun should be accorded all the rights of a prisoner of war according to the Geneva conventions and including full independent legal representation.

"We sincerely hope that all parties will cooperate urgently to ensure the safe release or exchange of Shaun.

"Our family, including his son and Ukrainian wife, love and miss him so much and our hearts go out to all the families involved in this awful situation."

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