Mum of man captured by Russians just wants her ‘hero’ son back

A heartbroken mum has spoken out after her son was taken prisoner while serving alongside the Ukrainian marines.

Ang Wood, mother of Aiden Aslin, has now said that she wants “her hero back” after footage emerged of him being paraded in front of cameras by Russian troops. Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live from St Mary Magdalene Church, Ang has recalled the turmoil of the past week without direct contact with her son.

“I came here [the church] a few times since his capture and it is the only place that is like a shelter to me apart from my home. Two weeks ago I got a phone call from him saying ‘I think we are surrendering, we have no ammunition, no food, we have no water.

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“And then last Tuesday, early hours, I got to speak to Aiden again. It was a very short message that he was surrendering.” Aiden had been fighting alongside his Marine unit in the southeastern city of Mariupol which has been subject to frequent shelling from invading Russian forces.

Mariupol’s mayor noted that around 21,000 civilians in the city had been killed since the war began, emphasizing the danger of the warzone. Meanwhile, Russia claimed more than 1,000 Ukrainians from the 36th Marine Brigade had surrendered in the ruined Mariupol.

Newark Parish Church – St Mary Magdalene.

The 28-year-old left his hometown of Nottinghamshire and moved to Ukraine in 2018 where he soon joined the military. He has been described by his mum as a “charismatic individual, very loveable, who was a man of the world and loved travelling”.

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His passion to explore led him to Ukraine where he discovered the “love of his life” who he had planned to marry. Before fighting in Ukraine, Aiden fought two tours with the Kurdish YPG group in Syria against so-called Islamic State between 2015 and 2016.

Unfortunately, his dream of getting married and settling down was cut short. “When the war was declared. Their wedding plans had to be put back. They were due to get married last month, and obviously, he could not.

“He is a family man and this was supposed to be his last year in the army. He was in the midst of getting his dual citizenship but, because he was called to go to Putin’s war, as I call it, it was never finalized .” Ms Wood can now only hope to see her son de ella again.

Aiden Aslin was born in Nottingham and grew up in Newark with his two other siblings

Images emerged of Aslin in handcuffs last week after he indicated on his social media, which are controlled by a third party, that he had no choice but to surrender alongside his unit who had run out of food and ammunition. A 45-minute film was released online this week which featured Aiden being questioned by Graham William Phillips, a man believed to be from Nottingham who has previously worked for the Russian state channel RT.

Speaking of her immense heartbreak, Ms Wood said: “I am disgusted. My son is being humiliated and used as a tool to spread Russian propaganda. It is horrendous. It is a breach of the Geneva convention.” She noted how much worse the pain was inflicted after the man behind this interview was believed to be from Nottingham.

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During the film, Aiden frequently answered no when asked if he was under duress. During the interview he recounted his time with the Ukrainian military and repeated several of Moscow’s propaganda lines such as the fact he is a mercenary and not a legitimate combatant.

Ms Wood added: “This was a scripted interview, it is absolutely disgusting. Seeing my son handcuffed saying those things that he does not believe in. People are dying, my son is being beaten up and all he cares about is doing his manipulative interviews .

Ms Wood spoke from the Parish Church in Newark

“Aiden is a hero, he is our nation’s hero who fought for Ukraine. He is a human being who fought for other human beings.” Despite everything, she noted that she would “not change a thing.” “I will always support his decisions from him,” she added. “I think he did the right thing to surrender. He is a true hero.”

“Aiden deserves justice. I am so angry and disgusted. As a mum, to see your son like this is just horrific,” she added. Adding onto the heartbreak, she said she has been suffering from a lack of sleep where “I only get two to three hours of sleep at night, and my life is not the same without Aiden.”

Newark’s Conservative MP Robert Jenrick expressed his concerns about Aiden’s situation. He highlighted the incident during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, April 20. In response to Mr Jenrick, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I think everybody will want to urge the Russian state to treat his constituent humanely and compassionately because in my view, although we do not encourage people to, in fact we actively discourage people from going to that theater of conflict, I understand he had been serving in the Ukrainian forces for some time and his situation was very different from that of a mercenary.

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“I hope that he is treated with care and compassion and I thoroughly echo the sentiments that my Right Honorable friend expresses about those who broadcast propaganda messages.”

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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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