The pair’s lawyer has stated that they were employed as self-styled police officers by militant forces in the Luhansk region, according to Ukraine Today

During questioning Yerofeyev said that he couldn't understand why he is being called a Russian serviceman.

The two men pleaded not guilty on the charges of terrorism brought against them.

Ukrainian security services say Yerofeyev and Alexandrov are Russian soldiers who killed Ukrainian troops while fighting in east Ukraine.

In a video posted online by the Ukrainian security services in May Alexandrov said he had been on a spying mission in Ukraine as part of a 14-member special forces group from the Russian town of Togliatti. Yerofeyev said in the video he had been on a reconnaissance mission.

The Kremlin has denied that the two men were on active military duty, saying that they had quit Russia's armed forces before travelling to east Ukraine to fight alongside the militants.

See’s video section for more of the latest news from Ukraine in video from Ukraine Today, Ukraine’s 24-hour English-language news channel.