Footage showing an injured British man who has been captured in Ukraine has been broadcast on Russian state television.
The clip, released by Moscow’s defence ministry, showed the man with a bandaged left arm, a makeshift bandage around his head, and blood on his right arm.
Under apparent questioning by the Russian military, the man said: “I don't have a rank ... I just know the foreign legion said I could help.”
Speaking with a British accent, he said that his name was Andrew Hill, that he was from Plymouth, and that he had four children and a partner.
Mr Hill said he had travelled alone and of his own accord to help Ukraine, entering the country from Poland and aiding refugees near the border before he was approached to “help further” within the country.
When Mr Hill asked if he was safe, one of the Russians answered: “Yes you are safe absolutely.” They said he would get medical care for his injuries, which appeared to include a bullet wound.
Russia’s defence ministry claimed Mr Hill “laid down his arms and surrendered” to Russian troops in Ukraine’s southwestern Mykolaiv region, where Scott Sibley – a 36-year-old British military veteran – was yesterday reported to have been killed while fighting Vladimir Putin’s forces.
The ministry claimed that the “group of mercenaries” in which Mr Hill supposedly fought was defeated.
In the footage, he can be heard saying that he had been part of a group seven individuals. Asked who had given them orders, Mr Hill said they had received “very minimal” information and did not get told “much at all, if anything”.
A Russian man speaking in the footage said he could not say when Mr Hill could return to England, but added: “You can be sure that nothing endangers your life.”
The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is understood to be investigating reports of a British national detained by Russia and supporting their family.
Mr Hill is the third British national to be paraded on Russian state TV in recent weeks, with Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, having been captured by Moscow’s troops in the devastated city of Mariupol earlier this month.
Mr Aslin’s relatives denounced claims that he was a “volunteer, a mercenary, or a spy” as “propaganda” issued by the Kremlin, saying: “Aiden was making plans for his future outside the military, but like all Ukrainians, his life was turned upside down by Putin’s barbarous invasion. He has played his part in defending Ukraine’s right to self-determination.
“The video of Aiden speaking under duress and having clearly suffered physical injuries is deeply distressing. Using images and videos of prisoners of war is in contravention of the Geneva Convention and must stop.”
The FCDO has previously said that Mr Pinner had also been living in Ukraine prior to the invasion.
Ukrainian authorities estimated in March that at least 20,000 people from 52 different countries had come to help them defend against Mr Putin’s invasion, around which time the UK’s Ministry of Defence said that “a small number” of soldiers had gone Awol despite orders not to travel to Ukraine.
Official advice in the UK was initially muddled, with foreign secretary Liz Truss forced to backtrack on her claim that she would “absolutely support” British nationals going to defend Ukraine, after defence secretary Ben Wallace said he did not “want to see British people killed any more than I want to see Ukrainians”.
Additional reporting by Reuters