A former prisoner who was sentenced to death by Russian forces has detailed his horrifying experience in captivity. Aiden Aslin, who was finally released in September, is a dual-citizen of both the UK and Ukraine and had been fighting as a Ukrainian Marine in Mariupol during the war. The British-born fighter was captured by Russian forces in April, before being sentenced to death by the pro-Russian authorities of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Speaking to the Telegraph this week, Mr Aslin spoke about how he had been beaten unconscious, stabbed, threatened with execution, and witnessed the killing of another prisoner during his captivity.
Mr Aislin, who is now living in Nottinghamshire, described how he was stationed on the front line with the Russian-controlled Donetsk People’s Republic when the war broke out in February.
He said: “We could hear the whole front line was alive, just heavy artillery everywhere. Heavy fighting, you could just hear it, it was like something out of those films about World War One.”
The former prisoner of war discussed how, following his capture during the siege of Mariupol, he was transferred to Donetsk. He said he was “singled out” for being British and endured a two-hour beating with a police baton, which left him unconscious.
Mr Aslin explained: “[The guard] asked me if I was religious and if I wanted a ‘quick death or a beautiful death’. And he said ‘did you see what I did here?’ And I was like ‘no’, and he pointed to my shoulder and said he’d stabbed me.
“I looked and saw the wound and the amount of blood coming out. That was the point I just went into survival mode.”
The British fighter, who has also fought in Syria, revealed how the Russian guards tried to humiliate the prisoners by forcing them to sing the Russian national anthem and cheer Vladimir Putin.
On a near daily basis, he said he would be dragged out of his cell and in front of a camera where he was asked if he renounced his support for Ukraine as the Russians tried to exploit Mr Aslin for propaganda purposes.
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He continued: “Our fight helped the rest of Ukraine because Russia was preoccupied with Mariupol so there were other places they had to lose, like pulling out from the north of Kyiv because they couldn’t sustain it.
“What I want is to see all our brothers and sisters who were captured brought back to their families.
“Pretty much the whole 36th brigade was wiped out. I’d like to see the Ukrainian government get those guys home.”
Mr Aslin is planning to marry his Ukrainian girlfriend Diana next April and when safe they both hope to return to Ukraine. He has promised Diana he will not return to combat but instead seek a career in journalism.