Militants of the Donetsk People's Republic DPR, a pro-Russian separatist state in eastern Ukraine, could have three foreigners sentenced to death for fighting Russia in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, according to reports.
Pravda reported that the General Prosecutor's Office of the Self-proclaimed DPR had completed a criminal investigation of British citizens Sean Pinner and Andrew Hill and Moroccan citizen Saadun Brahim.
The internationally unrecognized breakaway state claimed that all three participated in Ukraine's armed aggression for a fee to seize power in the DPR.
The men, who were allegedly abducted by the DPR, were previously branded as terrorists and neo-Nazis by local lawmaker Yelena Shishkina.
Their first court hearing will take place in the near future, where they can be sentenced to an exceptional measure - the death penalty, according to DPR prosecutors.
Pinner, 48, was part of the U.K.'s Royal Anglian Regiment, one of his homeland's premier infantry units before serving with Ukrainian marines and other British soldiers in the now-Russian city of Mariupol.
Both Pinner and Hill, a 36-year-old British military veteran from Plymouth, were paraded on Russian state television after their capture in April.
Prisoners of war are not allowed to be prosecuted for taking a direct part in hostilities during a war, under the Geneva Conventions. The treaties considered willful killing, mistreatment or torture of prisoners to be war crimes.
In early March, at least 20,000 international volunteers from 52 countries have traveled to Ukraine to join the fight against Russia, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
Many people hated Russia and what it was doing in recent years, but no one dared to openly oppose and fight them. When people saw that Ukrainians are fighting, and that Ukrainians are not giving up, many felt motivated to join the fight, Kuleba said.
At least 6,000 U.S. citizens have been asked about volunteering for the service, as the U.S. government discourages Americans from joining the Ukrainian Foreign Legion, a foreign military unit under Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces.
A military expedition from the United States is not permitted by the U.S. law that prohibits a group organized as a military expedition from leaving the United States to take action as a military force against a nation with which the United States is at peace. However, it does not prevent individuals from leaving the United States to fight for a cause they believed.