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Ukraine war: Soldier relives time as a prisoner tortured by Russia in our exclusive event

Shaun Pinner was forced to surrender in Mariupol in 2022 (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Shaun Pinner was forced to surrender in Mariupol in 2022 (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

A Briton, tortured by Russia while a prisoner of war (POW), called for immediate help from the US to save Ukraine during the latest virtual event from The Independent.

Shaun Pinner, a veteran of numerous tours with the British army, pointed out the impossible situation facing Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy and the country’s military leadership. “They’re talking about calling up half a million more [conscripts]. But what’s the point without any ammunition? They need help now.”

Answering questions from viewers during our exclusive event on 21 March, hosted by Tim White, the soldier also recounted his time being held in occupied Donetsk after being forced to surrender in Mariupol in 2022.

“Nothing can train you for the pain” said Mr Pinner, who had undergone special training for such an eventuality during his time in the UK forces.

In the event, Mr Pinner recalled haunting memories of starvation, electrocution and “the fact they stabbed me in the leg to stop me running anywhere.”

He also lifted the lid on the tactics employed by Russian prisons.

In July 2022 around 50 Ukraine POWs were killed in an airstrike on the Olenivka prison in Donetsk region. No international organisations have been allowed to visit the site, with most Western nations believing Russia bombed the prison itself.

Speaking about the incident for the first time, Shaun told viewers that during captivity he met someone he knew, who had been transferred from Olenivka after that missile attack.

The fellow POW told him “Russia didn’t have enough guards to control all the prisoners” and that they tried to create divisions among the Ukrainians between the “haves and have-nots”.

Watch the entire Q&A event for free below.

To find out about our next virtual event and how to sign up click here.