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Ukraine war: Briton captured in Mariupol considers Ukraine ‘his adopted country’, say family

Written by on 18 April 2022

The family of a British man captured in Mariupol say he considers Ukraine “his adopted country” and they are working with the Foreign Office to ensure his rights as a prisoner of war are being upheld.

Former British Army soldier Shaun Pinner was filmed saying that he was captured in Mariupol while fighting with the Ukrainian Marines.

In footage broadcast on Russian state TV, Mr Pinner said he had been fighting in the besieged port city for five to six weeks but is now in the breakaway region of Donetsk.

His family released a statement saying they were “currently working with the Foreign Office” along with the family of Aiden Aslin, from Newark in Nottingham, who was one of the last soldiers to surrender in the besieged city of Mariupol on 15 April.

Shaun Pinner's family shared a picture of the 48-year-old former British Army soldier Image: Shaun Pinner’s family shared a picture of the 48-year-old

They said they wanted to “ensure their rights as prisoners of war are upheld according to the Geneva Convention” while also addressing “misinformation”.

The Geneva Convention is an international humanitarian law that requires humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands.

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The family said: “Following the recent events leading up to Shaun Pinner’s present situation, we would like to clarify some misinformation which has been circulating within the media.

“Shaun was a well-respected soldier within the British Army serving in the Royal Anglian Regiment for many years. He served in many tours including Northern Ireland and with the United Nations in Bosnia.

“In 2018, Shaun decided to relocate to Ukraine to use his previous experience and training within the Ukrainian military.

“Shaun enjoyed the Ukrainian way of life and considered Ukraine as his adopted country over the last four years. During this time, he met his Ukrainian wife who is very focussed on the humanitarian needs of the country.”

Aiden Aslin Image: Aiden Aslin has also been captured in Ukraine

The statement added: “He progressed into the Ukrainian Marines as a proud member of his unit. At the end of 2022, his three-year contract is due to end and he was planning to enter a humanitarian role within Ukraine.

“We would like to make it clear he is not a volunteer nor a mercenary, but officially serving with the Ukrainian army in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.”

They said that “Shaun is a funny, much loved well intentioned husband, son, father, brother and friend to many” and they hoped both men who had been captured would “return safely to their families” soon.

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Mr Pinner told Sky News’s Stuart Ramsey in January he gave up working in waste management in England after realising he couldn’t do the 16-hour days and long commutes on the M25 anymore.

He was able to join the Ukrainian army due to his military background after serving with the Royal Anglian Regiment in the British Army for nine years.