The Foreign Office said it condemned the exploitation of prisoners of war and civilians for political purposes after two Britons were captured Russian forces and accused of hiring in Ukraine.

Cambridgeshire aid worker Dylan Healy, 22, volunteer Andrey Hill Officials of the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic announced the accusations of “mercenary”, according to the Russian state media TASS.

The newspaper reported that both men refused to cooperate with the investigation.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Department (FCDO) is understood to be actively investigating and providing support to the men’s families.

An FCDO A spokeswoman said: “We condemn the exploitation of prisoners of war and civilians for political purposes and have raised the issue with Russia.

“We are in constant contact with the government of Ukraine regarding their cases and fully support Ukraine in its efforts to release them.”

It comes after a video of a man speaking with an English accent, identified as Andrew Hill from Plymouth, was shown on Russian television in April.

A pro-Kremlin website said Mr Healy and Mr Hill would face the same recruitment charges as Aiden Aslin and Sean Pinner, two British volunteer soldiers captured in Mariupol who were sentenced to death in Donetsk.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) intervened in the case of Mr Aslin and Mr Piner on Thursday.

The government continues to impose sanctions against associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo/AP)

(AP)

A court in Strasbourg told Moscow that it must ensure that the death sentences handed down to Aslin, 28, from Newark, Nottinghamshire, and Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, are not carried out.

Mr. Aslin and Mr. Piner lived in Ukraine before the invasion and UK Government insisted that, as legitimate members of the Ukrainian armed forces, they should be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.

It comes after the government on Wednesday announced sanctions against Russia’s second-richest man Vladimir Patanin and Vladimir Putin’s cousin Anna Tsivileva as part of the latest round of measures targeting the Russian leader’s allies.

Patanin is the owner of the Interross conglomerate.

Mrs. Tsivileva is the president of the JSC “Kolmar Group” coal mining company.

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