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Brits freed from Russia captivity welcomed onto flight by Roman Abramovich

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Five Brits who were captured by Russian-backed forces have been released and said they were welcomed onto a plane by ex-Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

During an interview with the Sun, John Harding recalled that Mr Abramovich identified himself to Shaun Pinner. Meanwhile, Mr Harding spoke to the oligarch's assistant who said the Russian national had played a "key part" in their release.

It is understood that Mr Harding was set free on Wednesday alongside Mr Pinner, Aiden Aslin, Dylan Healy, and Andrew Hill, with the group landing in Britain in the early hours of Thursday morning. Read more: Chef smashed up Manchester landmark causing £20,000 worth of damage in bizarre attack Mr Abramovich said he would sell Chelsea on March 2, following news of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old was among a number of Russian nationals who were sanctioned by the UK government on March 10 after Downing Street claimed it had evidence of his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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