WASHINGTON, August 13. /TASS/. The United States authorities are concerned that the Supreme Court of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) may bring charges against a Croatian citizen, three British nationals and a Swedish national who were members of the Azov nationalist battalion (outlawed in Russia) and other Ukrainian armed formations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter on Friday.
"We are concerned by reports of British, Swedish & Croatian nationals being charged by illegitimate authorities in eastern Ukraine. Russia and its proxies have an obligation to respect international humanitarian law, including the rights & protections afforded to prisoners of war," the US diplomatic chief pointed out.
The DPR Supreme Court is to consider the criminal case against Matthias Gustavsson of Sweden, Vjekoslav Prebeg of Croatia, and three UK nationals John Harding, Dylan Healy, and Andrew Hill. They were members of Azov and other armed formations and were captured in Mariupol, including at the Azovstal steel plant.
On June 9, a DPR court sentenced two British nationals, Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, as well as Moroccan Brahim Saadoun to capital punishment for fighting in the Ukrainian army as mercenaries. They were captured in Donbass.
Similar charges under Article 430 of the DPR Criminal Code (Mercenary activities) were brought against UK nationals Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill, who had been taken prisoner at the Illich plant in Mariupol and in the Nikolaev Region. The British refused to cooperate with the investigation and testify in the case, and the Swedish national, who had been captured at the Azovstal steel plant, denied the accusation of participating in combat operations as a mercenary as part of Ukrainian armed formations in the DPR.