Briton who joined Ukrainian army pictured in handcuffs after being captured by Russian troops

A volunteer from the UK who fought alongside Ukrainian troops in Mariupol has been pictured in handcuffs after being captured by Russian forces.

Aidan Aslin, 28, moved to Ukraine in 2018 and later joined the nation’s armed forces, but was forced to surrender two days ago after Russian attacks cut off supplies and ammunition to the besieged port city.

An image shared on his official social media account, which is currently being run by one of his friends, showed Mr Aslin in handcuffs, with damage to his eyes and forehead.

A caption on the Twitter post said: “Just got this, it looks as if they have gotten a hold of Aiden.”

It is not known where Mr Aslin, who also goes by the name Johnny, is currently being held.

A previous statement on his Twitter account said: “We’ve gotten word from Johnny. ‘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 for everyone, I hope this war ends soon.’

“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.”

Mr Aslin was previously using his Instagram page to keep his followers updated on the conflict, but the page was deleted last week.

Mr Aslin’s mother said she is “in bits” after recognizing her son’s distinctive Happy Days tattoo in the image posted to social media


The 28-year-old, from Newark in Nottinghamshire, called his family in the early hours of Tuesday when he told them his unit in Mariupol had run out of ammunition and food and they had been ordered to surrender.

He said the 36th Marine Brigade had been fighting for 48 days straight and was exhausted. As many as 1,000 men from the 36th, 300 of them wounded, were said to have been taken as prisoners.

His mother, speaking from her home in Balderton, Nottinghamshire, said she is “in bits” after recognizing her son’s distinctive “Happy Days” tattoo in the image posted to social media.

Ang Wood said: “It’s Aiden I can’t deny it. It’s him. They are his tattoos of him. There is a faint hope it is a doctored image but I can’t see it. I now hold Vladimir Putin to the terms of the Geneva Convention.

Mr Aslin has been documenting his experience of fighting Russian forces on social media

(cossack gundi)

This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

(Press Association Images)

“Aiden is a serving member of the Ukrainian armed forces and as such is a prisoner of war and must be treated with humanity.

“It already looks like he has been beaten up. It is time now for the British Government to get involved. and help secure Aiden’s release because he is still a British citizen.

“Possibly there is hope for a prisoner swap arranged by the Ukrainians. I’m in bits. My son will be scared just as we are.”

Mr Aslin previously fought two tours with the Kurdish YPG group in Syria against so-called Islamic State between 2015 and 2016.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

Additional reporting by SWNS

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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