John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator at the White House National Security Council (NSC), said that Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s remarks about the possibility of imposing the death penalty on Americans accused of mercenary going to war in the United States shocked the United States. Ukraine. His words were reported by TASS.
“We’ve seen Peskov’s comments on this. It’s shocking that an official in Russia even suggested the possibility of the death penalty for two American citizens in Ukraine,” he said.
The US State Department also reported that on June 21, US citizen Steven Zabelsky, who joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces, was killed in Ukraine during the conflict. The 52-year-old American died on May 15, his death was known only today.
“I think you’ve seen the State Department confirm the death of another US citizen during the conflict in Ukraine. <...> We want to emphasize that the time has not come for the Americans to go to Ukraine. If you want to help the Ukrainians, there are many better options than going out there and putting yourself in danger,” the White House official added.
Also, a few days ago, The Telegraph newspaper reported that two former US military personnel were captured in clashes near Kharkov. They are 39-year-old Iraq War veteran Alexander Dryuke and 27-year-old Andy Hyun. They served as volunteers in one of the regular units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“We are in direct contact with the Russian authorities about Americans detained in Ukraine,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
According to him, the states formally requested information from the Russian side. “We have not received any official or official response other than what Russian representatives have voiced in public talks,” Price said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Peskov told reporters that the Americans captured in Ukraine were mercenaries and encroached on the lives of Russian soldiers, as well as DPR and LPR soldiers.
“We are talking about mercenaries who threaten and encroach upon the lives of our soldiers. And the soldiers of not only ours, but also the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. This is what they are accused of – mercenary service, ”said the Kremlin spokesman.
According to Peskov, “They cannot and are not covered by the Geneva Convention.” He also added that the death penalty “should not be excluded”, but that the decision would remain in court.
The decision can be appealed
On June 9, the Donetsk People’s Republic Supreme Court sentenced two British and one Moroccan foreign mercenary to death. It was noted that foreigners had the opportunity to appeal the court’s decision within a month, but the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, said that he “does not see a reason for amnesty.”
He then added that the convicts have one month to appeal the execution order, in accordance with the constitutional procedure.
“We already have the fact that after the appeal is made or not, the Ministry of Justice of the Donetsk People’s Republic will make a decision within its jurisdiction for the execution of the sentence. “The fact of condemning these crimes is a sign that nothing goes unnoticed, nothing goes unpunished,” he said.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the kingdom of Sean Pinner and Aiden Aslin is doing everything possible to free and extradite its subjects. He noted that Pinner and Aslin were prisoners of war and that the death penalty violated the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
“They sent a note, but one written in extremely arrogant, instructive terms. “This does not make us want to cooperate on these issues,” said Andrey Kelin, the Russian Ambassador to London, after that.
In addition, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided to implement measures against Russia and Ukraine to prevent the execution of the death sentence given to Moroccan mercenary Brahim Saadoun.
The organization will also oblige Russia and Ukraine to provide the Moroccan citizen with acceptable conditions of detention and necessary medical care. The press release states that the court sees the Ukrainian government as a power of influence over Russia.
The DPR Chief Prosecutor’s Office reported that Pinner, Aslin and Brahim were involved in the commission of crimes under Part 2 of Art. 34 of the Criminal Code of the DPR (“Committing a crime by a group of people”), Art. 323 of the Criminal Code of the DPR (“The seizure of power or the forced retention of power”) and Art. 430 of the DPR Criminal Code (“Mercenary”). They partially admitted their guilt – except for the last point. All three were officially included in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation noted that, according to Moscow’s position, foreign fighters who voluntarily came to fight in the Donbass are not considered combatants. Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized that the convicts are not prisoners of war, but mercenaries, and do not have the status of prisoners of war according to international humanitarian law.
mercenary in international law
Definition of a mercenary formulated In Article 47 of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions on the protection of victims of international armed conflict:
Article 47. Mercenaries
1. A mercenary does not hold combatant or prisoner-of-war status.
2. A mercenary is any person who:
a) has been specially recruited at home or abroad to fight in an armed conflict;
b) actually takes a direct part in hostilities;
(c) takes part in hostilities motivated primarily by the desire for personal gain, and who actually
the promise by or on behalf of a party to the conflict of a material reward substantially greater than that promised or paid to combatants of the same rank and post in the armed forces of that party;
d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a permanent resident in the territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
(e) is not a member of the armed forces of one of the Parties to the conflict;
f) Not sent to perform official duties as a member of its armed forces by a State that is not a Party to the conflict.
At the same time, to designate a person as a mercenary, the subject must meet. All of the above criteria at the same time. Captured British and Moroccans were prosecuted under DPR legislation. At the same time, Russia recognizes the DPR as an independent state, while England and Morocco do not.