Two British fighters captured in Ukraine by Russian forces have been paraded on Russian state television asking Boris Johnson to help free them, in a dramatic escalation of the propaganda war.
Footage showed Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin calling on the British prime minister to help free them in exchange for Ukraine releasing the pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk.
It was unclear how freely the two men were able to talk in the video, which was aired on the Rossiya 24 state TV channel on Monday.
At the same time as Russia broadcast footage of the two British men, Ukraine’s foreign intelligence service released video of Medvedchuk, nicknamed the “dark prince” of Ukrainian politics, asking to be swapped too.
In his appeal to the Russian and Ukrainian leaders, Vladimir Putin and Volodymr Zelenskiy, Medvedchuk asked to be exchanged for the defenders of the besieged city of Mariupol – where Pinner and Aslin were based before their capture – and that any civilians be allowed to leave.