A British ‘mercenary’ captured in Mariupol has been told by the Russians that his Ukrainian commanders wanted him to be killed as he fled a factory hideout – so he would be seen as an anti-Putin hero by the outside world.
Shaun Pinner, 48, paraded on propaganda TV, said there was “panic” as he was held after ending their siege in an industrial area of the blitzed city.
“We were in the factory area of Mariupol,” he said in a newly released clip of an interview made in captivity.
“It was Tuesday morning.
“It was decided we move from the factory, but we did not know exactly where.
“At about 4am we left the factory.”
There was “not much time to think,” said Pinner.
After this, his words were subtitled in Russian but his original speech was not audible.
According to the subtitles, Pinner said: “It was very dark. We took the injured with us.
“Mortar and artillery shelling began, military aviation worked. Panic began.
“Everyone started running in different directions.
“My commander seems to have disappeared.
“I still don’t know what happened to those who were there with me.”
Interviewer Andrey Rudenko – a well-known Russian war reporter on pro-Kremlin state TV – claimed without citing direct evidence that his Ukrainian commanders wanted him and others killed by Vladimir Putin’s forces so they could be hailed as heroes in the propaganda battle against Moscow.
“The servicemen of the 36th brigade say their command specially sent them to be killed in order to make heroes out of them later,” Pinner was told.
Rudenko told an exhausted-looking Pinner: “You didn’t have a single chance to reach this settlement Zachatovka, since Russian and DPR troops were everywhere.”
In the event, he and other defenders were captured.
Pinner is heard replying to the claim that his Ukrainian commanders wanted him and others fleeing the factory to die: “I had no idea. You know more than me. I don’t particularly know anything…”
The report also quoted Pinner as saying – though his words were not audible in this broadcast: “I had no idea, we were abandoned.
“I do not know who took such a decision.
“I do not know anything about the fate of the injured, who were left there.
“I do not know what happened to the dead bodies.”
In an earlier interview, Pinner had identified himself and said: “I am a citizen of the United Kingdom.
“I was captured in Mariupol.
“I am part of 36th brigade, 1st Battalion Ukrainian Marines…
“I was fighting in Mariupol for five to six weeks and now I am in the Donetsk People’s Republic.”
In another clip suggesting he is caught up in Russia’s propaganda campaign against Ukraine and the West, he reportedly said that “he doesn’t want war and wants to go home”.
Pinner – seen in pictures with his Ukrainian wife Larysa – now faces interrogation by the Russian Investigative Committee.
The committee – seen as an equivalent of the FBI and run by Alexander Bastrykin, a university classmate of Vladimir Putin – described Pinner as “an English mercenary who served in the 36th brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Marines as a stormtrooper and is now in captivity.
“This is the second Englishman caught in Mariupol.”
His fate in the hands of the Russians and the separatist authorities in Donetsk remains uncertain.
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