The journalist has called the British men who were fighting in Ukraine “total pillocks” after they were captured by Russian military forces. Two British men are being held prisoner by Russian forces after they were captured while fighting in the besieged city of Mariupol. Benjamin Butterworth raged at the actions of the men, denouncing their decision to fight as “thick”.
Mr Butterworth asserted the capture of the Brits was “putting other people in danger,” after the men appeared on Russian television.
The journalist claimed Putin’s forces are “parading” the British soldiers on Russian television.
The two captured men, Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, appeared in footage as part of a Russian state broadcast asking for a prisoner exchange.
Mr Butterworth claimed Putin was using the men as an “excuse” to push on with the Russian invasion.
In the television broadcast, the two men asked to be returned to the UK in exchange for the release of captured Russian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk.
Mr Butterworth claimed the exchange proposal demonstrated why “NATO countries haven’t done anything like put troops on the ground.”
The journalist suggested the British soldiers had provided Putin with the power to demand the release of notable Russian prisoners in Ukraine.
Butterworth claimed the actions of the men amounted to a “criminal offence” as their capture risks the continued Ukrainian defence against the invasion.
He explained the Government had been “clear” that British soldiers should not be involved in the fighting.
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Despite the journalist’s assertion that the British soldiers “went out there” to join the fight against Russia, more detailed reports identify the two men as living in Ukraine long before the invasion.
Mr Pinner is a 48-year-old former British Army soldier who joined the Ukrainian military when he moved to the country in 2018.
Mr Aslin, 28-years old, also joined the Ukrainian armed forces as a marine in 2018 and achieved citizenship after settling in the country with his native fiancee.
The families of the two men back in the UK have confirmed they are in contact with the foreign office and have called for the soldiers to be rescued.
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It is unclear if the men were able to speak freely in their appearance on Russian television but it is suspected their request for a prisoner exchange may have been made under duress.
Mr Medvedchuk, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, was captured by Ukrainian forces as he attempted to flee the country.
The UK Government has not confirmed a decision surrounding the rescue of the captured men or the proposed prisoner exchange.
Shadow Attorney-General Emily Thornberry said “we should be negotiating with the Russians to try to get them back but I don’t think we can give in to blackmail.”