CAPTURED Brit fighter Aiden Aslin has launched a desperate appeal against his death sentence in Putin’s rogue Ukrainian state.
The former care worker argued he wasn’t a mercenary but a member of Ukraine’s armed forces.
He has posted a picture of himself on social media taking an oath to serve in the Ukrainian army.
A lawyer for fellow British fighter Shaun Pinner, 48, Yulia Tserkovnikova, launched his appeal last week.
Both men were sentenced to the death penalty by firing squad in a verdict last month after a rushed trial when key witnesses did not appear.
Few observers expect them to succeed at what is seen as a new stage of a show trial, leaving them only to plead for a pardon to the pro-Putin ruler of the DPR, Denis Pushilin.
MORE ON THE UKRAINE WAR
But Pushilin has already said he sees no grounds to grant a pardon.
Their best hope is that a prisoner exchange leads to them being swapped with Russian soldiers captured in Ukraine.
“A cassation appeal against the verdict was filed today,” said the lawyer representing Aslin, Pavel Kosovan, 今天.
The Britons were sentenced to death along with Moroccan Brahim Saadoun for “mercenary activities” by fighting for Ukraine.
Alsin’s lawyer said he appeal concerned only some of the charges – those carrying the death penalty – such as his alleged effort to bring about “a seizure of power by force” in the DPR.
The purpose of the appeal was to “avoid execution”.
Two more British captives in the hands of the DPR have been indicted on charges that could lead to the death penalty.
Andrew Hill, 35, and Dylan Healy, 22, face an upcoming trial.
Hill, a father of four from Plymouth, was allegedly a “mercenary” fighting for the Ukrainians.
Healy, from Cambridgeshire, was previously described as a civilian volunteer seeking to evacuate people from war-ravaged Ukraine.
这 Aid worker, 22, has been accused of being a terrorist and a mercenary.
He was detained with Brit helper Paul Urey, 45, near Zaporizhzhia on April 25. They face trial.
A humanitarian aid group insists pictures posted online with witness statements and documents prove he was on a mercy mission.
It comes as Ukraine said it was ready to swap Russian prisoners of war to secure the release of hero fighters Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner.
Expats Aiden, 28, and Shaun, 48, were captured after running out of ammo during the brutal siege of Mariupol.
They were convicted of being illegal mercenaries in a sham trial by Putin’s proxies in the occupied Donetsk region.
Ukraine says they were soldiers who should be protected as prisoners of war under international law.
And last month the country’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, suggested they would be freed in a prisoner swap deal with Russia.
In return Putin could demand the release of a number of pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politicians who have been detained for alleged spying.
“It will be a swap,” Mr Prystaiko told BBC News.
“The important question is what will be the price for this, because the Russians were talking about some Ukrainian MPs being swapped for them, especially for those who, I now understand, were working for them for all these years.”
The ambassador added Aiden and Shaun “have contracts with the armed forces, they lived in Ukraine before, so they are legitimately there.”
他说: “We expect Russians to remember that these are our people, and should be treated as prisoners of war – the same way we are treating Russians who are in our captivity.”
It comes after Boris Johnson ordered ministers to do “everything in their power” to ensure the release of the two Britons.