Seized Briton’s ‘last words’ to daughter in propaganda film after being told he faces death following capture in Ukraine
- John Harding had not been heard from since being captured in Mariupol in May
- Mr Harding, originally from Sunderland, was interviewed by pro-Putin stooge
- He pleaded with Boris Johnson for help after being told he faces death sentence
A Briton captured by Russian forces in Ukraine has been forced to utter his ‘last words’ to his daughter in a new disturbing video.
John Harding, who had not been heard from since being captured in Mariupol in May, also pleaded with Boris Johnson for help after being told he faces the death sentence.
In footage with English subtitles, Mr Harding, who is in his fifties and originally from Sunderland, was interviewed by pro-Vladimir Putin stooge Marina Kim.
He said: ‘I would say to Boris Johnson, if you can help, if you can influence president Volodymyr Zelensky… or if you can influence president Putin then please do… otherwise, I face the death penalty.’
Miss Kim asks: ‘Maybe it could be like your last words – what would you tell [your daughter]?’ Mr Harding, who is thought to have been captured at the Azovstal steelworks, replied: ‘Obviously, I would tell her I wish I’d spent more time with her.’
John Harding, who had not been heard from since being captured in Mariupol in May, also pleaded with Boris Johnson for help after being told he faces the death sentence
When asked if he would tell his daughter he loved her, he said: ‘Of course. All fathers love their daughters.’ He is then seen nervously smoking.
The Foreign Office said it was concerned by his detention. Two other British men, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, have also been sentenced to death.
It came as Kyiv girded itself for a fresh Russian offensive.
Ukraine has been waiting for the Kremlin’s next move after defence minister Sergei Shoigu announced the end of an ‘operational pause’ on Saturday. It came as a close Putin ally has threatened Ukraine with ‘doomsday’ if it dares to attack occupied Crimea.
In a speech to Second World War veterans yesterday, Dmitry Medvedev appeared to allude to a nuclear strike on Ukraine, calling the current leadership ‘ecstatic bloody clowns’.
The Foreign Office said it was concerned by his detention. Two other British men, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, have also been sentenced to death
According to state news agency TASS, he said: ‘Should anything of the kind happen [to Crimea], they will be faced with a doomsday, very quick and tough, immediately. There will be no avoiding it.’
A report by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe has recorded the use of underground torture chambers, indiscriminate murder and gang rape by Russia.
One account indicated that ‘25 girls aged 14-24 were kept in a basement in Bucha and gang-raped, as a result of which nine became pregnant’.
The report also recorded claims that in Kherson, some 600 prisoners are detained underground ‘in specially equipped basements and torture chambers’.
Meanwhile, on BBC1’s Sunday Morning show Britain’s Armed Forces Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin dismissed speculation that Putin was ill or could be assassinated as ‘wishful thinking’.
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