Aiden Aslin: Briton fighting in Ukraine faces execution at hands of Russian forces

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·2-min read
(Twitter/@cossackgundi)
Aiden Aslin, originally from Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire, joined the Ukrainian marines in 2018. (Twitter/@cossackgundi)

A Briton fighting in Ukraine who was been captured by Russian troops is now facing the death penalty.

Aiden Aslin, originally from Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire, joined the Ukrainian marines in 2018 and had been fighting with his unit in Mariupol during the Ukraine crisis.

In April the 28-year-old was captured after his unit was surrounded and they ran out of ammunition and supplies.

Pictures and video of a battered and bruised Aslin were shared as part of Russia's propaganda campaign, in which he asked for Boris Johnson to swap him and two other British prisoners for a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician.

Russia claims he is a foreign mercenary - which would prevent him from having protection under the Geneva Convention - when, in fact, Aslin holds dual citizenship and was fighting with the Ukrainian Army.

Read more: Release of captured Briton Aiden Aslin could take ‘days, weeks, months’, says brother

Ukrainian servicemen drive a tank near the frontline in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, June 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Ukrainian servicemen drive a tank near the frontline in Donetsk region. (AP)
Melania works clearing the rubble of a temple that was destroyed during attacks in Gorenka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, June 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A woman clears the rubble of a temple that was destroyed during attacks in Gorenka, on the outskirts of Kyiv. (AP)

According to prosecutors in the self-declared, Moscow-backed separatist region of the Donetsk People's Republic, a "criminal investigation" into Aslin has completed and he has been charged with four offences, including that of being a mercenary.

A statement from the DPR prosecutor-general said: "Taking into account wartime, on the basis of the provisions of the current main law, according to the results of the trial, the mercenary may be assigned an exceptional measure of punishment — the death penalty."

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Two other captured British nationals, 48-year-old Shaun Pinner and 35-year-old Andrew Hill, are also being tried as mercenaries and could face similar charges.

All three have been filmed apparently "admitting" to war crimes, with the footage being shared online.

Ukraine's former defence minister, Andriy Zagorodnyuk, has described their treatment by Russian forces as a war crime.

Watch: Russia releases video of demining teams in Donetsk

Zagorodnyuk said: “Mercenaries have a very clear definition. And what has happened [to Aslin and Pinner] does not fit that definition. Obviously, Russia would love to bring ambiguity in this question.”

When asked about Aslin's case on Tuesday morning, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab told LBC: "In relation to that case, I don't know all the details, but of course we would expect the laws of armed conflict to be respected, and we will make sure that we will make all the representations.

"I know the Foreign Office will be looking at making sure all those representations are made."

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