Aiden Aslin, 28, was captured while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the besieged city of Mariupol -he joined Ukraine’s armed forces as a marine in 2018
The mum of a British soldier who was captured by Vladimir Putin’s forces has spoken to him and relayed his captor’s message to tell her to “press Boris Johnson for a swap deal.”
Aiden Aslin, 28, was captured while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the besieged city of Mariupol.
Mum Ang Wood said she was called by the Russian captors telling her to be ready for a video call over Facebook Messenger on Thursday morning.
The call was pushed back, and she started to fear it was a hoax.
However, at lunchtime, the call came through over the phone instead of on Messenger.
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She said they pressed Aiden to tell her to pressure the Prime Minister for him to be freed in exchange for pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk.
Ang also said her son appeared to be being treated well and was being fed, watered and had been given an e-cigarette.
Ang, of Balderton, Nottingham, said: “First the Russians said he’d call at 10, then 11.30, then 12, before Aiden eventually came on the phone.
“What they wanted was for me to press Boris Johnson for this swap deal involving Viktor Medvedchuk.
“I had to say that, with the greatest of respect, I didn’t have the Prime Minister on speed dial.
“I could hear his Russian captors talking in the background. There were pauses where Aiden was being told what to say, that he had to do this, had to do that.
“They want Viktor and are willing to swap Aiden for his release.
“I told them that they will need to start talking to the Ukrainians. It is them that hold Viktor Medvedchuk.
“Obviously our guys can’t release him because we don’t have him.
“Maybe the Ukrainians will act as some small return for all of the military equipment and support Britain is giving them.”
Ang said the Russian captors made a point to let her know Aiden was being treated well.
She added: “He said that he had now had some sleep, had eaten, and had been given a vape.
“I told them that I expected them to treat him humanely and adhere to the terms of the Geneva Convention because he is a prisoner of war — a soldier in the Ukrainian army and has been for nearly four years.
“He is not a mercenary, not a spy, as they have claimed before.
“Aiden said he knew nothing of what was happening in the outside world.
“I described what was happening in Ukraine to him — that Ukraine was in bits — said that we were all well and told him that he was on every front page and on the TV news. His story was being told.
“He knows now that his situation hasn’t been overlooked and that he and Shaun Pinner [the second Brit soldier captured at Mariupol] are cared about, and they are cared about.
“Today I received a lovely card from a lady whose son was held a prisoner of war which was simply addressed to ‘Angela Wood, mother of Aiden Aslin — a prisoner of war in Russia — Newark’ and somehow Royal Mail got it to me. ”
Ang said Aiden appeared to look better when she spoke to him and that he wasn’t in handcuffs.
She added: “He seemed OK. He seemed better in the video I was sent yesterday, he wasn’t handcuffed.
“Far better than he did in that first video of his interrogation or the second by that pro-Kremlin from Nottingham, Graham Phillips. I was left thinking ‘what is their game?’
“After the phone call, it became clear. Their demands seem set. I just hope something can be done, and soon.
“It’s a waiting game, just as every day has been a waiting game.”
Medvedchuk’s wife Oksana sent a video message sent to Ang suggesting the idea of a prisoner exchange after he was recaptured by the Ukrainian military following a period on the run after escaping house arrest.
The suggestion was then repeated by Medvedchuk in the Ukrainian intelligence services’ video before it was picked up by the Russians and repeated by both Aiden and his friend Pinner in their televised addresses.
Ang added: “He knew nothing about Viktor Medvedchuk’s wife sending me the video asking for the swap that kicked all of this off.
“I asked him what would happen if he and Shaun were swapped and he said that they would be released into the community, free to find their own way home.”
Russia’s foreign ministry said that the British fighters who were captured in Ukraine by Kremlin troops were being fed, watered and given necessary help.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said: “Don’t worry, the Russian side is taking care of them.
“They are fed, watered, and given the necessary assistance. Just like other foreigners who have surrendered or been detained.”
Aiden was already living in the Ukraine when the war broke out.
In 2018, I have joined Ukraine’s armed forces as a marine and have since applied for citizenship there.
Before the war broke out, he was living in Ukraine with his fiancée and was building a house and a life there.
He previously fought alongside the Kurdish YPG against Isis in Syria in 2015 and 2016.
The former care worker has dual citizenship.