British POW John Harding used as a ‘punching bag’ during days of torture in Ukraine


John Harding said he suffered a broken sternum, tailbone injuries, broken ribs and neurological damage to his hand in the Donetsk detention centre.

A released British POW who was being held by Russian-backed separatists has told Sky News how he was tortured for several days.

John Harding said he was used as a “punching bag” by guards at a detention center in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine.

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The center was run by the MGB, which he said was the equivalent of the Russian FSB, formerly the KGB.

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He said he was held there for about nine days in a small cell about 4ft by 6ft, before being taken to the prosecutor’s office for questioning.

Mr Harding was one of five Britons freed in recent days in a prisoner swap with Russia. He is now back in the UK after his release with Ukrainian and Saudi help.

Shaun Pinner (center) and Aiden Aslin (right). John Harding has a thumbs up

Image: Mr Harding, left, with fellow POWs Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin on a plane after their release

Mr. Harding was in Ukraine teaching his soldiers how to use first aid kits.

When the Russians crossed the border during the February invasion, they were near his base and he ended up in the Azovstal steel complex, where he and his colleagues fled because it was a good position defensive with underground tunnels.

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