Ukraine, West condemn death sentence for foreign fighters

Two British citizens and a Moroccan, captured by pro-Russian forces, have been sentenced to death in eastern Ukraine.

They were accused of illegally fighting on behalf of Ukraine's government as mercenaries.

Russian's Interfax news agency says the two British nationals were captured in Mariupol in the Donetsk region in mid-April. The Moroccan citizen was caught in Donetsk back in March.

Aiden Aslin, who is a British citizen, said, "I was hoping the sentence would be a lot fairer judging the circumstances in which I helped the investigation and also because I surrendered to the Donetsk People's Republic."

The court in Donetsk that handed down the verdict is not internationally recognized. Ukraine and western governments have condemned the decision.

In a tweet, Britain's foreign secretary called the ruling a "sham judgment" with "no legitimacy."

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the fighters should be protected from prosecution under the Geneva Conventions.

Intense fighting continues in the eastern city of Severodonetsk. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the battle to maintain control of the Luhansk region remains a stalemate.

Ukraine's defense minister says his troops need more heavy weapons from western countries, to keep up with Russian firepower. He says the Ukrainian people cannot afford to continue losing their sons and daughters to the fighting.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian university says it's figured out the financial toll taken by the Russian invasion.

The Kyiv School of Economics estimates the cost of the damage to Ukrainian infrastructure has reached over 100 billion dollars.

The report says the figure for residential buildings is nearly 40 billion dollars.

It also says schools and medical facilities are increasingly being caught in the crossfire.