Foreigners captured in Ukraine likely will be killed, a Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) defense spokesman told Russian state-owned TV.
Eduard Basurin, representing the military command of the Moscow-backed breakaway Ukrainian republic, appeared on a Russian political talk show and was asked whether "convicted foreign mercenaries" who had been captured would be shot.
"Yes, I think so," Basurin replied in video tweeted by journalist Julia Davis.
Basurin added that the situation was not about those who had come to Ukraine "to kill for money" but rather "about their political stance."
The DPR defense spokesman told the state-owned "60 Minutes" program that the majority of volunteers coming to fight with Ukraine were "nationalists of their own countries."
"For that reason we should be destroying them," Basurin said. "We'll help the countries from which they came by destroying them because if they were to return they would do the same in their own country."
The alarming comments came after U.S. veterans Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 28, had been captured. Both men are from Alabama and volunteered to fight against Russia in Ukraine, Newsweek reported.
Drueke's mother, Lois "Bunny" Drueke, told Newsmax late last month that her son looked "wonderful," "strong," and "healthy" in recent footage of him released publicly by Russian state television.
The Kremlin has said that the two Americans, while fighting on the Ukrainian side of the war, were mercenaries who endangered the lives of Russian servicemen and should face responsibility for their actions.
Bunny Drueke confirmed the State Department has been in touch with the family "every day" about the status of her son, adding that "they heard from Alex himself."
Two Britons — Aiden Aslin, 28 and Shaun Pinner, 48 – were charged with being foreign mercenaries after being captured in Mariupol and given the death penalty.
Newsweek reported that DPR leader Denis Pushilin refused to say when the executions of Aslin and Pinner might take place, but added that appeals of their sentences had been filed.
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