Brit fighters tortured by Russian thugs awarded military honours by Zelensky

Four British volunteer soldiers who were captured and tortured by Russian thugs in Ukraine have been awarded military honours by Volodymyr Zelensky.

Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, John Harding and Andrew Hill have been awarded the Order of Courage, 3rd Class for their "selfless actions" in helping to defend against Vladimir Putin's invasion.

It is the same military honour awarded to Patron the bomb-sniffing dog, a Jack Russell Terrier that finds unexploded mines for the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

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Ukrainian President Zelensky said the Brits had shown “personal courage and selfless actions in the defence of the state sovereignty of Ukraine".

Ex-soldier Shaun Pinner, 49, from North London, said: “It means a lot to be recognised. None of us went there for medals but it means a lot to be recognised.

“It is really about remembering the fallen, the guys who didn’t come back.”

Pinner and ex care worker Aslin, from Nottinghamshire, had been sentenced in a kangaroo court to death by firing squad for what Russia called mercenary activity.

John Harding, 59, from Sunderland, a former paratrooper in the British Army said: “We will carry the medals for the guys who didn’t make it.”

Harding was used as a "punching bag" over days of torture in Ukraine at the hands of Russian forces in Donetsk.

Harding told Sky he suffered a fractured sternum, damage to his coccyx, broken ribs and neurological damage to his hand.

He had been in Ukraine teaching its soldiers how to use first aid kits.

Former British soldier Andrew Hill, 36, from Plymouth, Devon, said: “It’s overwhelming really.”

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In April, dad-of-four Andrew Hill was captured and then paraded on Russian TV with a head bandage and his left arm covered in a sling.

It later transpired that the reason Mr Hill was captured was that he was ordered to defend a position that had already been abandoned by another unit, due to intense Russian fire.


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