Croat Vjekoslav Prebeg, who was accused by a separatist court in eastern Ukraine of being a mercenary of Kiev's forces, faces the death penalty, media reported today.

A court in the pro-Russian Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine accused him and four other foreign nationals of fighting as mercenaries on the Ukrainian side.

All three, including the Croatian, face the death penalty.

The other two are the British, John Harding and the Swede, Mathias Gustafsson,

reports .

All three were arrested in and around Mariupol.

Referring to the judge, TASS states that the trial may continue in early October.

Two other Britons, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill, are also charged but do not face the death penalty.

All five pleaded not guilty.

Croatia strongly condemned the indictment, announced the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP).

Croatia "rejects the indictment and does not consider it well-founded and legal because it is contrary to international law and international conventions on the treatment of captured civilians and prisoners of war", says the statement of MVEP.

The ministry and the competent services are in constant contact with the Ukrainian authorities and other partners to shed light on the case and release the Croat, it was announced.

Today, on the day of the start of the trial, a new video has been published in which he describes how he ended up in Ukraine.

"I received an offer that I can stay in Ukraine if I will contract military service, since foreign army officers receive a residence permit until the contract is extended and after three years they can also receive citizenship, I decided on the contract.

I was a few kilometers north of Ilic's factory.

We had a checkpoint there.

They took us to the checkpoint and told us that we would be in the second line and make trenches.

We dug trenches," he said.