Britain's Foreign Office has condemned what it called the “exploitation” of prisoners of war and civilians for political purposes following the capture of two British men by Russian forces in Ukraine.
“We condemn the exploitation of prisoners of war and civilians for political purposes and have raised this with Russia,” the Foreign Office said on July 2. “We are in constant contact with the government of Ukraine on their cases and are fully supportive of Ukraine in its efforts to get them released.”
Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine said aid worker Dylan Healy, 22, and military volunteer Andrew Hill have been charged with carrying out “mercenary activities.”
A pro-Kremlin website said Healy and Hill would face the same charges as two British military volunteers captured in Mariupol.
In early June, the two Britons -- Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner -- and a Moroccan national -- Saaudun Brahim -- were sentenced to death by the separatists for "mercenary activities."
All three say they were serving in the Ukrainian military when they were captured by pro-Russia separatists while fighting Russian forces.
Britain, the United Nations, Ukraine, and Germany condemned the death sentences.
The European Court of Human Rights on June 30 intervened in the case and warned Moscow it must ensure the death penalty is not carried out.
The British government insisted that as legitimate members of the Ukrainian armed forces, they should be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.
Westerners have been traveling to Ukraine to help defend it against Russia's unprovoked invasion or to assist in providing humanitarian aid to Ukrainians forced to fleet their homes by the Russian military onslaught.