With him, also fellow countryman Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Saadoun Brahim. “They are prisoners of war,” said Foreign Minister Liz Truss. “This is a sham trial without any legitimacy”
from our correspondent
LONDON – He is only 28 years old but in some ways he is already a veteran Aiden Aslin, one of two British who fought in the Ukrainian forces and they saw themselves sentenced to death by the Russians after being captured: Aiden in fact, between 2015 and 2017, he served in the Kurdish army fighting against the ISIS militias in Syria. Although he had no military background in Britain, Aiden, who is from Newark, Nottinghamshire, he had quit his job as a social worker to enlist with the Kurds after being shocked by the atrocities committed by the Islamic State. Back home, he had been indicted for terrorismbut the charges had also been dropped thanks to a public pressure campaign.
In 2018 Aiden moved to Ukraine, in Mykolaiv, after meeting his Ukrainian girlfriend on a trip. The young British man had taken local citizenship and the couple had planned their nuptials for this summer. According to his family members, Aiden had joined the Ukrainian army because he was having difficulty finding work in his new homeland. The British had been attached to the 36th brigade of the Kiev marines, protagonist of the resistance in the Avzostal steelworks in Mariupol. Aiden had become a social media star in recent months, with tens of thousands of followers, thanks to the videos that placed from the front with the nom de guerre of Cossack Gundi. In his last message, he was seen walking among the ruins of the steel mill: «If you are watching this video – he said – it means that we have given up. We have exhausted all our resources, we are without food and ammunition ».
After the capture, Aiden was shown on Russian TV and branded as a “mercenary”, in a video where he was seen wounded and bloodied. Subsequently, in another video preceding the sentence, a kind of confession is extracted from him in which he says: “I pray to God that the people of Donbass will forgive me for my actions and see that I have been deceived. Whoever wounds by the sword perishes ». Reactions to the death sentence in London were furious. “They are prisoners of war,” said Foreign Minister Liz Truss. “This is a sham trial with no legitimacy.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “deeply concerned” and his government is working together with that of Kiev to secure the release of the British.
The toughest was the chairman of the Westminster Foreign Commission, Tom Tugendhat, an Afghanistan veteran: “This is not a state, this is not a court and the judges are just people in disguise. The reality is that it is an absolutely brutal thing. ” And former minister Robert Jenrick, deputy for the Aiden constituency, added that “this disgusting Soviet-style mock trial it is the latest reminder of the depravity of the Putin regime ”. The young man’s family stated that “he and Shaun (the other Briton), as members of the Ukrainian armed forces, should be treated with respect like any other prisoner of war. They are not and have never been mercenaries. ‘