Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republic tanks in eastern Ukraine 230520 CREDIT PA
A pro-Kremlin website said Mr Healy and Mr Hill would face the same mercenary charges as Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner – they were sentenced to death in Donetsk (Picture: PA).
Ukraine

Ukraine: Two more Britons charged with being mercenaries by Russia

A military volunteer and an aid worker were charged with carrying out "mercenary activities" says the official news agency.

Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republic tanks in eastern Ukraine 230520 CREDIT PA
A pro-Kremlin website said Mr Healy and Mr Hill would face the same mercenary charges as Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner – they were sentenced to death in Donetsk (Picture: PA).

Russian state media has reported that 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 the Tass news agency.

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.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said it condemns the exploitation of prisoners of war and civilians for political purposes following their capture.

An FCDO spokeswoman said: "We condemn the exploitation of prisoners of war and civilians for political purposes and have raised this with Russia.

Watch: Russia releases footage of two Britons caught fighting with Ukraine.

"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."

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.

Watch: British troops train Ukrainian soldiers on Salisbury Plain.

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.

News of the capture of the two British men comes after the 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 and Ms Tsivileva is president of the JSC Kolmar Group coal mining company.