Cassandra Pinner, 43, confirmed earlier today that Shaun’s family is aware he has appeared in Russian videos asking for a prisoner exchange, after releasing a statement last night petitioning Russian forces to treat Shaun well in captivity.
Shaun and Aiden Aslin, who had been serving in the Ukrainian marines, were captured by Putin’s troops in the city of Mariupol last week and were dragged on state TV today to ask for a prisoner swap for Kremlin ally Viktor Medvedchuk.
‘We have been made aware that Shaun is in another video asking for a prisoner exchange,’ Cassandra said today.
‘A prisoner exchange is a move that is being considered, not necessarily with Viktor Medvedchuk, but it’s something being discussed.’
Medvedchuk – known both as the ‘prince of darkness’ and Putin’s ‘grey cardinal’ – is one of Ukraine’s richest men and the Russian strongman’s closest political ally in the country, having helped exert Kremlin pressure in influential circles in Kyiv.
The tycoon – worth an estimated £480million – was re-arrested in Kyiv last week while allegedly trying to flee the country, having escaped from house arrest during the early days of the war.
Pinner and Aslin spoke after being prompted by an unidentified man who showed them the footage of Medvedchuk’s wife begging for his freedom, and were almost certainly speaking under duress.
A Home Office source condemned ‘the exploitation of prisoners of war for political purposes.’