A British former care worker who fought alongside Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol is to be paraded on an upcoming Russian TV broadcast after he was captured by Russian forces earlier this week.
Aiden Aslin, 28, known by his social media alias Cossack Gundi, moved to Ukraine in 2018 after falling in love with a woman from Mykolaiv and joined the nation’s armed forces.
For weeks he had been fighting Russian forces in Mariupol as a fully paid member of Ukraine’s army, but surrendered to the invaders two days ago after his team ran out of supplies and ammunition following 48 days of conflict in and around the besieged port city.
A plug for the upcoming broadcast called Aiden ‘an English mercenary who fought on the side of the ”Nazis” in Mariupol’.
It went on: ‘Many lost him, but we found him. An interesting interview is coming soon.’
The interview was promoted by prominent Russian state television correspondent Andrey Rudenko, who posted the first image of the British national after his capture.
The image, shared by Aiden’s official social media account to raise awareness, showed his tattooed arms shackled in handcuffs with facial bruising and a laceration across his forehead.
A second image, posted by a pro-Russian Telegram account from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, showed a close up of the cut as Aiden sat in custody.
An image of the British national, shared by his official social media account, showed him shackled in handcuffs with facial bruising and a laceration across his forehead
A second image, posted by a pro-Russian Telegram account from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, showed a close up of the cut as Aiden sat in custody
Russia’s Channel 1 said Aiden ‘previously fought on the side of radical Islamists in Syria’ and another state TV outlet Rossiya 1 said he was ‘suspected of fighting for terrorists’.
Rossiya 1 continued: ‘In London, after the odious Briton Aiden Aslin surrendered, they suddenly remembered the Geneva Convention and asked for him to be treated gently.’
Meanwhile, NTV – owned by Gazprom Media – said the British media ‘suddenly changed its tone after six weeks of enjoying, gloating, embellishing, and exaggerating reports of our army’s soldiers being wounded and killed.’
The NTV report said Aiden had been ‘befriended by a neo-Nazi’, in reference to his 2018 relocation to Ukraine to be with his Ukrainian fiancee.
Members of Aiden’s family told the MailOnline on Tuesday after receiving news of his capture that they were hoping for a prisoner transfer.
Meanwhile, Robert Jenrick, the MP for Aiden’s hometown of Newark in Nottinghamshire, tweeted yesterday: ‘I am working with [the foreign office] to track the whereabouts and secure the release of my constituent.
‘Aiden chose to risk his life because he believes passionately in the Ukrainian people’s right to live in freedom and democracy.’
Aiden Aslin, 28, was among the last fighters left in the besieged southern city of Mariupol but said he would have to give himself up after supplies ran out and the situation became hopeless. ‘It’s been 48 days, we tried our best to defend Mariupol but we have no choice but to surrender to Russian forces,’ his account tweeted earlier this week
Aiden’s social media account, which is being operated by his contacts while he has been fighting on the frontlines, tweeted the picture of the British national and promised to keep his plight ‘in the public eye’.
‘Just got this, it looks as if they have gotten ahold of Aiden,’ the tweet read.
‘F***ing pukes have worked him over too by the looks of it. We’re going to keep in the public eye every day until he’s exchanged.’
The same account posted a message earlier this week notifying Aiden’s followers of his surrender.
‘It’s been 48 days, we tried our best to defend Mariupol but we have no choice but to surrender to Russian forces.
‘We have no food and no ammunition. It’s been a pleasure everyone, I hope this war ends soon.’
The post added: ‘We’re putting this out after direct consultation with his family. Until we’re told otherwise we’ll continue working on sharing the facts of the war. Hope for a prisoner exchange.’
Moving to Ukraine in 2018, Aslin had been due to get married last week to his Ukrainian fiancee.
But as his unit, the 36th Marine Brigade, became surrounded by Russian forces bombarding the city of Mariupol, his communication with the outside world became increasingly sporadic.
Aiden had been fighting Russian forces in Mariupol as a fully paid member of Ukraine’s army, but surrendered to the invaders two days ago after his team ran out of supplies and ammunition following 48 days of conflict in and around the besieged port city
Aiden’s younger brother, Nathan Wood, told MailOnline on Tuesday the fighter’s family had received little information about his whereabouts or his condition, and expressed concern he would be treated poorly by his Russian captors.
‘Aiden called me at 3am today and mentioned they were having to lay down arms because of a lack of food and ammunition,’ Wood, 25, said on Tuesday.
‘It was a very brief call as we got cut off but I could tell by the tone of his voice that he wasn’t happy.
‘As a family we don’t want to say too much because Aiden’s well-being and safety is our prime concern but President Putin has made dire warnings to those Westerners caught fighting for the Ukrainian Army.
‘Aiden has been called a mercenary but that isn’t true, he enrolled with the Ukrainian Army four years ago and has dual citizenship.
Nathan Wood, (right) begged the Kremlin to look after his brother Aiden Aslin (left) who phoned his family in the middle of the night from the front line to say that he was surrendering to the Russian forces because he had run out of food and ammunition
‘If the Russians do have Aiden captive, we would want to remind them of the Geneva Convention and to treat him and other soldiers in a humane and dignified way,’ Wood continued.
‘This is a worrying time for our family. Russia has a reputation with how it deals with its prisoners.
‘Those soldiers from Snake Island, who told the Russians to ‘go f*** yourself’, talked about being tortured before they were released.
‘Aiden may well become used as a propaganda tool by the Russians and be paraded about. We just hope they don’t do anything drastic. We want him to be safe.’
Aslin previously spent ten months in Iraq fighting Islamic State alongside the Kurdish People’s Defence Forces (YPG).
Upon his return to Britain in 2016, he was arrested on suspicion of terror charges but was acquitted and returned to Iraq for a second tour of duty with the YPG.