A British man taken prisoner in Ukraine has been paraded on Russian state television while injured and asking his captors “am I safe?”
Andrew Hill, 35, was shown with his arm in a sling and his head bandaged after suffering a gunshot wound as he asked when he could return to England.
The father-of-four, from Plymouth, Devon, is believed to have been fighting as a volunteer as part of Ukraine’s foreign legion in a unit of Western fighters that included Scott Sibley, the former British Army soldier killed last week.
Russia’s Rossiya 1 state TV claimed Mr Hill surrendered to Russian forces in the Mykolaiv region.
Separately, two British aid workers were reported yesterday to have been taken prisoner by Russian troops at a checkpoint.
i understands Mr Sibley, who served in the Royal Logistics Corps, was killed in a Russian artillery strike in a village between Mykolaiv and Kherson.
It comes as a former US Marine who fought alongside Mr Sibley and Mr Hill in a unit of foreign volunteers paid tribute to both British men.
Issac Olvera tweeted that Mr Sibley had “died holding the line now separating western values from repressive autocracy” and, rejecting Russian claims that Mr Hill is a mercenary, said “his motives for defending Ukraine were genuine and did not involve financial gain”.
Two videos of Mr Hill released by Russia’s defense ministry were aired on Russian state television on Friday.
The channel said: “Andrew Hill laid down his arms and surrendered to Russian servicemen in the Mykolaiv region. A group of mercenaries, in which the Briton fought, was defeated, and he was wounded. ”
Mr Hill said he had traveled alone to Ukraine to help, and had entered the country from Poland to aid refugees near the border before being approached to “help further” within the country.
At one point, Mr Hill looked up at his captors and asked, “Am I safe?”
He was told that he was and then asked: “Is there any way of being able to get back to England or anything like that?”
One of his captors, who remained off-camera, told him: “I absolutely cannot say right now how long it is going to take but you can be sure that nothing will endanger your life.”
Mr Hill said he was carrying a CZ firearm “for personal protection” and was in a group of seven, two of whom he did not know.
When he was asked how much he had been paid, he said: “They have not paid me anything. They said they were meant to be paying people but no one has been paid. ”
He also said the only document he had had on his was his passport, which Russian troops had removed from him after taking him prisoner.
iunderstands that other foreign volunteers had been with Mr Hill on an operation that led to his capture.
A former US Marine from Tennessee, who had been working in Ukraine with a private military contracting company, and an unnamed Danish national were also confirmed on Friday to have been killed in Ukraine.
Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, died in fighting with Russian forces. He is the first US national confirmed to have been killed in Ukraine.
British armed forces veteran Mr Sibley was named this week as the first UK national to be killed fighting in Ukraine.
A tribute to Mr Sibley on Mr Hill’s page read “rest easy brother”.
Issac Olvera, a US fighter who had been part of the same unit as the two British men, said he had met them after arriving in Ukraine.
Mr Olvera tweeted: “Scott and I arrived in Ukraine on the same day and together we formed a team. ‘I’m here to fight’. Those were Scott’s words when I asked him what he wanted to do after we helped repel the Russians from Kyiv and we looked for our next mission.
“Scott’s second act was to take the skills he learned in the British army to another hotpot in Ukraine.
“He died holding the line now separating western values from repressive autocracy. Quite literally, his last act was preventing a RUS advance on a strategically important city. ”
In another series of tweets, he wrote: “I met Andy my first day in Ukraine and we were on the same team until recently.
“He is not a mercenary. His motives for defending Ukraine were genuine and did not involve financial gain.
“No matter what he says, consider that he is under duress and his captors can compel him to say anything. Our Andy may look hurt but he is not defeated. We look forward to seeing you again mate ”.