One of the British prisoners who was captured whilst fighting in Ukraine has revealed how he was forced by the Russians to listen to ABBA and Cher on repeat.
Shaun Pinner, a 48-year-old army veteran, spoke of how he was forced to listen to the music 24 hours a day, as well as being stabbed and subjected to electrocutions.
While in captivity he was forced to listen to the soundtrack of Mamma Mia and only given stale bread and dirty water to consume.
After he was sentenced to death in June, alongside fellow British fighter Aiden Aslin, they were moved to new accommodation where the music torture continued.
“The conditions were better but they still played music — and this time it was Believe by Cher,” he told The Sun.
“We had our dark days and I cried a lot. We had to cling on to some kind of hope and that’s how I survived.”
Mr Pinner was part of a group of 10 foreign detainees freed after Saudi Arabia brokered a secretive deal between Russia and Ukraine.
Now back home in Potton, Beds, he said: “I thought I was going to die. It was hell on earth.
“The past six months have been the worst days of my life. I never want to listen to an ABBA song again or see a loaf of bread. I just am so lucky to be home.”
Watch: Freed British prisoner talks of journey home from Ukraine
Fellow prisoner Mr Aslin has also spoken of how he was beaten, stabbed and forced to listen to Soviet songs in a small cell 24 hours a day.
“I never thought I’d get out alive,” he said.
The 28-year-old, originally from Newark, joined Ukraine’s Marines in 2018. His battalion surrendered during the siege of Mariupol in April, after they ran out of food and ammunition.
He was taken to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, where he was beaten during an interrogation prior to the Russian-backed forces announcing his capture to the world.
“The officer was smoking a cigarette and knelt down in front of me to ask, ‘Do you know who I am?’ I said ‘no’ and he replied in Russian, ‘I am your death’,” he said.
“He said, ‘Did you see what I did to you?’. He pointed to my back. He showed me his knife and I realised he’d stabbed me.
“He then asked me, ‘Do you want a quick death or a beautiful death?’.
“I replied in Russian, ‘A quick death’. He smiled and said ‘No, you’re going to have a beautiful death... and I’m going to make sure it’s a beautiful death.”
A Donetsk court sentenced Mr Aslin and fellow Briton Shaun Pinner to death in June.
Mr Aslin said: “During the entire five months in captivity, I couldn’t cry.
“When I heard I’d been given the death sentence I wanted to cry but I just couldn’t. It was literally a matter of surviving.
“Your life is in the hands of these people and you do what they tell you to do or you suffer the consequences.”
However, it has been revealed that Roman Abramovich, the former owner of Chelsea Football Club, “played a key part” in securing the release of the five men.
The Russian, 55, welcomed John Harding, Shaun Pinner, Aiden Aslin, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill onto a jet flying them from Russia to Saudi Arabia.
He gave each of the men iPhones so that they could call their families and even talked football with them while they ate steaks on the flight to Riyadh.