For the first time, one of the warring factions in Ukraine has imposed a death sentence. The separatists want to execute three foreigners who fought in the ranks of the Ukrainian army.

The Supreme Court of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has sentenced to death three foreign fighters in the ranks of the Ukrainian armed forces as mercenaries.

According to the Russian news agency TASS, the death penalty will be imposed for “all crimes taken together”. The accused are two Britons and one Moroccan. You can still appeal the verdict within one month.

The trial against the three men began on Wednesday, largely closed to the public. They are accused of acts of violent seizure of power. According to the court, the accused “admitted their guilt”. One of the men also “admitted to having been trained in terrorist attacks”.

The two Britons were captured by pro-Russian forces in mid-April in the southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol. According to media reports, both had lived in Ukraine before the war and also married there.

Russia: Foreigners generally mercenaries

After the Russian invasion, they fought on the side of the Ukrainian army. However, the Russian leadership has repeatedly stated in the past that it generally regards foreigners as mercenaries. The spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, recently threatened that they would not be considered combatants and would not be subject to international laws protecting prisoners of war.

In Russia there is a moratorium on the death penalty. In the separatist republics, however, this moratorium does not apply. According to media reports, the execution could be carried out by shooting.