scorecardA British fighter captured in Ukraine by Russian forces appeared bloodied in an interview on state TV as he repeated Russian propaganda
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A British fighter captured in Ukraine by Russian forces appeared bloodied in an interview on state TV as he repeated Russian propaganda

Natalie Musumeci   

A British fighter captured in Ukraine by Russian forces appeared bloodied in an interview on state TV as he repeated Russian propaganda
LifeInternational2 min read
  • A British fighter captured by Russian forces in Ukraine appeared bloodied during an interview on Russian state TV.
  • Aiden Aslin, 27, seemingly spoke under duress during the interview.

A British fighter who was captured by Russian forces while fighting on behalf of Ukraine appeared battered and bloodied during an interview on Russian state TV as he parroted Russian propaganda.

His family is now condemning his treatment in Russian custody, calling the possible beating "shocking."

Aiden Aslin, 27, had been fighting alongside Ukraine's armed forces in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol but was forced to surrender to Russian troops.

"It's been 48 days, we tried our best to defend Mariupol, but we have no choice but to surrender to Russian forces," read a tweet from Aslin's account on April 12 — an apparent relayed message from the UK man. "We have no food and no ammunition. It's been a pleasure, everyone. I hope this war ends soon."

The British fighter from the town of Newark-on-Trent then appeared on Russian state TV on Friday with a visible gash on his forehead as he repeated Russian propaganda.

"From the first day when we arrived in Mariupol, I said that we should leave, because, as I said before, Donbas is recognized as independent, Luhansk also," Aslin was quoted as saying by Russian newspaper Izvestia.

Izvestia also claimed Aslin urged Ukraine to recognize Russia's claims to Crimea, which Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded and annexed from Ukraine in 2014,

Izvestia described Aslin as a "mercenary," and during the interview, Aslin apparently referred to Ukrainian troops as "criminals."

Aslin's Twitter account — which The Guardian previously reported is being run by a friend of his while he was in Ukraine — suggested Aslin had been coerced into making the statements as a "victory lap" for Russian media.

The account posted a screenshot of Aslin from the interview and tweeted that it showed "a better shot of the bashing they gave Aiden."

"So far they're going through what we expected with recorded statements," the account added. "Russian media are taking a victory lap. Perfectly happy for them to do that if it keeps my friend alive."

Another photo of Aslin tweeted from the account showed him in handcuffs wearing the same clothes he wore during the interview.

Aslin's younger brother, Nathan, told British tabloid The Daily Mail that it was "so shocking for our family to see Aiden in that state."

"What have the Russians done to him? He looks awful, absolutely exhausted. His face is drained of color," Aslin's brother said, according to the news outlet.

Aslin's mother, Angela Wood, pleaded for Putin's forces to treat her son with humanity, the Daily Mail reported.

"I'm in bits. I now hold Vladimir Putin to the terms of the Geneva Convention," Wood said, according to the Daily Mail. "Aiden is a serving member of the Ukrainian armed forces and as such is a prisoner of war and must be treated with humanity."

Human rights groups have warned both Russia and Ukraine that parading prisoners of war before the media is a violation of international law.

Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.

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