VLADIMIR Putin's separatist warlords in eastern Ukraine have said they are "preparing a place for the execution" of two captured Brits.
Hero fighters Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48 – both serving members of Ukraine's army – were sentenced to death by a kangaroo court after reportedly being tricked to admit they are terrorists.
The pair were captured after running out of ammo during the brutal siege of Mariupol and convicted of being illegal mercenaries in a sham trial by Putin's proxies in the occupied Donetsk region.
Separatist forces in eastern Ukraine have now accelerated plans to execute the two Brits.
A chilling statement from officials in the Donetsk region reportedly said they were "preparing a place for their execution" – which would be by firing squad and without any prior warning.
The date of their executions will not be released in advance.
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Denis Pushilin, the head of the Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine's Donetsk region, said: "Everything is ready. It won’t be public."
A member of Russian parliament also mocked the Brits, saying they would be executed with British weapons – and their families would be sent a bill, Mail Online reports.
Donetsk People's Republic's Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova claimed the two Brits were sentenced to death for fighting as "mercenaries" – despite the fact they were fighting for Ukraine.
She said: "We consider that mercenary activity is indeed a terrible crime because people, for a reward, come to another country to kill other people, despite having no personal goals connected to the conflict in question.
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"Yes, it is the highest measure of punishment, but it is in our legislation and it is not linked to the further process of recognition of the Donetsk People's Republic by other states."
Shaun is a former Royal Anglian soldier from Bedfordshire, and Aiden is a former care worker from Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Both men had lived in Ukraine since 2018 and were professional salaried soldiers in the country’s 36th Marines.
They were seen in a metal cage on a Telegram video alongside Moroccan fighter Saaudun Brahim, 21, who was also sentenced to death on June 9.
News of the sickening sentence handed to the two Brits sparked fury in the UK, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Aiden's family's MP Robert Jenrick among those to condemn the barbaric decision.
After the trial last month, Aiden's family said: "We love Aiden with all our hearts.
"He and Shaun, as members of Ukrainian armed forces, should be treated with respect just like any other prisoners of war. They are not, and never were, mercenaries.
"We hope that this sentence will be overturned and beseech the government's of the UK and Ukraine to do everything in their power to have them returned to us safely, and soon.
"We can only imagine what they are going through right now. This is a very upsetting development and we ask that our privacy is respected at this time."
Journalists were not allowed into the trial, which was held in the shortest possible time, and all the news from the court came via Russian state media.
Pro-Kremlin journalists published only brief videos from the trial.
Observers described the charges as "fabricated" and the trial as a "demonstrative" attempt to imitate the trials of Russian soldiers for war crimes in Kyiv.
Downing Street said the UK government was "deeply concerned" following the announcement of the death sentences.
Tom Tugendhat MP, chair of the foreign affairs committee, branded the act a "war crime" and a "barbaric violation" of the Geneva Convention.
"Its not a state, its not a court, and the judges are people merely dressing up and pretending," he told BBC Radio 4.
"The reality is this is an absolutely brutal thing to do to three completely innocent people."
He said the men had been taken "hostage" in an act of "revenge" – and said the blame lies with Putin.
And Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to do "everything in their power" to ensure the release of the two Brits.
Sources said the government will “leave no stone unturned”.
Russia is expected to demand that Britain appeal directly to rebel authorities in Donetsk – which the UK does not recognise.
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