Two more Brits could face the death penalty after being captured by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine – including one who was helping a woman and two children flee shelling.
Dylan Healy, 22, and Andrew Hill, 35, face trial in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), a pro-Putin rogue state in eastern Ukraine recognised only by Russia and Syria.
It comes as two other Brits – Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48 – were sentenced to death by firing squad at a show trial last month.
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Mr Healy, from Huntingdon, Cambridge, was detained in late April at a Russian military checkpoint in Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region while helping with the evacuation of a Ukrainian woman and two children.
He was captured with fellow humanitarian volunteer Paul Urey as they tried to help Ukrainians flee the war-torn region.
Mr Hill, a father-of-four from Plymouth and a military volunteer fighting with the Ukrainian army, was captured in the southwestern Mykolaiv region at about the same time.
Russian state media said the pair have been charged with "mercenary activities" and were refusing to cooperate.
According to Russian state news agency TASS, criminal cases have been opened and charges filed against Mr Healy and Mr Hill under Article 430 of the DPR criminal code.
A law enforcement source said: "Criminal cases have been initiated and charges were presented for mercenaryism against British citizens Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill, currently in detention in DPR.
“Investigation operation are underway as the investigators look for evidence of the crimes, committed by the British, because they do not want to testify and refuse to cooperate on their criminal cases.”
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An updated DPR criminal code published on an official website that took effect on Friday says the death penalty will start being used from 2025.
It is thought Russia may look to use the men as bargaining chips for a swap involving its people in Ukrainian hands.
In late April, Russia's defence ministry released a video showing an injured British man captured in Ukraine, who said his name was Andrew Hill, being questioned by unidentified Russian forces.
Hill previously served in the British Army with the Lancaster regiment.
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