Prime Minister Liz Truss has revealed that five Britons captured in Ukraine and held by Russian-backed forces have been returned to their families.
“We deeply welcome the news that five British nationals held by Russia-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine will be returned safely, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families,” she wrote on Twitter.
Representative Robert Jenrick said British fighter Aiden Aslin, who was sentenced to death by a pro-Russian court, is among those released.
He wrote on Twitter: “Aiden’s return ends months of agonizing uncertainty for the loving Aiden family in Newark who suffered every day from Aiden’s show trial but never gave up hope. Since they are united as a family once again, they can finally be at peace.”
The 28-year-old Mr. Aslin moved to Ukraine in 2018 and later joined the country’s armed forces.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry said that Russia released 10 foreign prisoners of war after mediation by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The ministry said that the list includes US, British, Croat, Moroccan and Swede citizens, and that a plane carrying the prisoners had landed in the kingdom.
The statement stated that “the concerned Saudi authorities received them and transferred them from Russia to the Kingdom and facilitated procedures for their countries.”
The ministry did not specify the identity of the prisoners. A Saudi official said five Britons, an American, a Croat, a Moroccan and a Swede.
It is not yet known whether the five are Sean Boehner, who was arrested alongside Mr. Aslin and also sentenced to death in Donetsk, one of Russia’s agents in eastern Ukraine.
Mr. Aslin and Mr. Pinner were both members of the regular Ukrainian military units in Mariupol.
Prince Mohammed has maintained close relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including within the framework of the OPEC + group of oil producers, despite intense pressure from Washington, a traditional ally of Riyadh, to isolate Russia.
Ms. Truss thanked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “for his efforts to secure the release of the detainees, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their assistance.”
“Russia must end the brutal exploitation of prisoners of war and civilian detainees for political purposes,” she added.
Secretary of State James Cleverly said: “This puts an end to many months of uncertainty and suffering, including the threat of the death penalty, for them and their families, at the hands of Russia.
“Sadly this was not the case for one of the detainees, and our thoughts remain with Paul Urey’s family.”
The British Aid Volunteer died earlier this year while being held by Russian-backed separatists.