A "court" on occupied territory in Donetsk region (self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic") convicted 28-year-old Aiden Aslin, from Newark, 48-year-old Shaun Pinner, from Watford, and Saaudun Brahim on charges of “terrorism”.

Both Britons have said they were serving in the Ukrainian marines, making them active-duty soldiers who should be protected by the Geneva conventions on prisoners of war.

In the UK, the schools minister Robin Walker is on the media round this morning, and on Sky News has been described a case as a “disgusting Soviet-era show trial”.

"This is an illegal court in a sham government that has held this trial, and obviously we don’t recognise it has any authority, but we will continue to use our diplomatic channels to make the case that these are prisoners of war who should be treated accordingly," he told.