Russian state media has reported two British men have been captured by Moscow’s forces in separatist-held Ukraine and charged with being mercenaries.
Cambridgeshire aid worker Dylan Healy, 22, and military volunteer Andrew Hill have been charged with carrying out “mercenary activities”, officials in the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic said, according to Tass.
The outlet reported both men were refusing to co-operate with investigators.
It comes after a video shown on Russian television in April featured a man speaking with an English accent who appeared to give his name as Andrew Hill from Plymouth.
A pro-Kremlin website said Mr Healy and Mr Hill would face the same mercenary charges as Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, two British military volunteers captured in Mariupol who have been condemned to death in Donetsk.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on Thursday intervened in the case of Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner.
The Strasbourg-based court indicated to Moscow that it should ensure the death penalty imposed on Mr Aslin, 28, originally from Newark in Nottinghamshire, and Mr Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, is not carried out.
Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner were living in Ukraine before the invasion and the UK government has insisted that, as legitimate members of the Ukrainian armed forces, they should be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.
It came after the UK government on Wednesday announced it was imposing sanctions on Russia’s second richest man, Vladimir Potanin, and Vladimir Putin’s cousin, Anna Tsivileva, in the latest round of measures targeting allies of the Russian leader.
Mr Potanin is the owner of the Interross conglomerate.
Ms Tsivileva – Mr Putin’s cousin – is president of the JSC Kolmar Group coal mining company.