The court of the Donetsk People’s Republic sentenced to death three foreigners who fought on the side of the Ukrainian forces and accused on a number of counts (including mercenary). Among them are two British citizens who arrived in Ukraine long before the start of the special operation on February 24. We tried to understand how and why the British found themselves in the ranks of the APU in Donbass.
According to media reports, both 48-year-old Sean Pinner and 28-year-old Aydin Aslin were in Ukraine a few years ago. And both Britons seem to have been brought there in part by “romantic interest.” But not only him.
Sean Pinner from Watford (Hertfordshire) married a Ukrainian woman named Larissa and settled in his wife’s homeland. However, he retained British citizenship (after he was taken prisoner in the battles for Mariupol, he declared that he was a “citizen of the United Kingdom”).
However, it is not entirely clear whether Pinner came to Ukraine specifically for his future wife or met her there. Most likely, the second option took place.
His British relatives, in particular, say: “Sean liked the Ukrainian way of life, and for the last four years he has considered Ukraine his host country. During this time, he met his Ukrainian wife, who is very focused on the humanitarian needs of the country. “
There are photos of Pinner and his wife Larisa on social networks (a characteristic detail: the woman has a chain with a pendant in the form of a Ukrainian “trident” on her neck). By the way, in connection with the verdict passed in the DNR, Larisa made harsh statements against the court and Russia, and added that Ukrainian and British officials “are doing everything possible” to “resolve this situation.”
According to a statement issued by his family in April after the British capture, “in 2018, Sean decided to move to Ukraine to use his previous experience and training in the Ukrainian armed forces.”
In the past, Pinner previously served in the Royal British Regiment, served in Northern Ireland and as part of the UN mission in Bosnia.
And in Ukraine, the Briton was in the 36th Brigade of the APU Marines. According to him, part of his unit died in the first days of the Russian special operation.
Pinner’s relatives say that he served in the Ukrainian Marines under a three-year contract, which expires at the end of 2022, after which, according to them, he planned to engage in humanitarian activities in Ukraine.
“We would like to clarify that he is not a volunteer or a mercenary, but officially serves in the Ukrainian army in accordance with Ukrainian law,” the Daily Mirror quoted the Pinner family as saying.
Back in January this year – long before the start of the Russian special operation – the Daily Mail reported that Sean Pinner was one of at least ten British citizens who went to Donbass “to fight pro-Moscow separatists.” He said that in 2019 an artillery strike was carried out on his position: “I did not think I would get out of there alive. In three days, six people died in my position. I jumped from funnel to funnel with another guy, moving between shots and explosions during the shift. Only after I managed to return to the rear did we realize that our people had died. It took time to understand. “
Then (again, this was before the start of the Russian military special operation) Sean Pinner said: “This is my ninth military round. Death has been a part of my life for so long. You can’t walk every day thinking you will be killed or injured. I am afraid for my life. The Russians will treat us differently if we are captured because we are British. I always think that I will be caught. I’m not just another military addict. I excelled better than most Ukrainians. I am the first resident of the West to complete all aspects of parachute training as a Ukrainian soldier. “
Aidin Aslin, a native of Newark (Nottinghamshire), who managed to visit the “hot spots” in the Middle East in 2015 and 2017 and get problems with British justice in this regard, also brought love to Ukraine. He has a bride Diana from the city of Nikolaev in this country. According to the press, it was to her that a former social worker who fought in Syria on the side of Kurdish groups, and moved in 2018 from Britain. As you know, after arriving from Syria, Aslin was twice detained and interrogated in his homeland on suspicion of terrorism (so this circumstance, in theory, could have contributed to the fact that he moved to the “Independent”). At the same time, Aslin had dual citizenship (Great Britain and Ukraine) and allegedly joined the Ukrainian armed forces before the start of the Russian special operation.
According to the Daily Mail, after hearing about the confrontation in the Donbass from Ukrainian volunteers in Syria, Aslin decided to move (according to some data, in 2017, according to others – in 2018) to Ukraine, to join the Marines. In this capacity, he went to the front line several times, where there were battles against the DNR, and the beginning of the Russian special operation found him in the trenches in the Donbass.
However, former American soldier Brennan Phillips, who met Aslin in Syria and worked with him in Ukraine, claims that Aidin had a good life in Ukraine and he did not go there to fight as a “thrill seeker.” According to him: “He has a Ukrainian bride. They have or had a house outside Mariupol, and he served in the 36th Marine Brigade. So yes, he had a good life in Ukraine, Ukrainian citizenship. “
As for Diana, whom the Daily Mail calls Aslin’s wife, she left Ukraine after the conflict began, first in Hungary and then decided to move to Britain to be closer to her mother-in-law Angela Wood.
Read also: “Nazi-internationalists” recruited foreign mercenaries to Ukraine.
Life and death sentence of mercenaries: photo file of Sean Pinner, Aiden Aslin, Saadun Brahim
See the photo gallery on the topic