A British soldier held by pro-Vladimir Putin forces has been seen making videos on a YouTube channel praising his captors in what appears to be Russian propaganda.
Aiden Aslin, 28, has become a YouTuber, praising the “incredible” food he receives in detention and offering to answer questions from around the world.
He and two other British fighters are being held by authorities of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR] – a region that is not internationally recognized – after their surrender in Ukraine.
Aiden was not named as one of the potential death penalty fighters, but the other two did.
It is strongly suspected that Aiden is being used for propaganda purposes.
Fellow British captives Shaun Pinner, 48, and Andrew Hill, 35, have both been branded ‘neo-Nazis’ and warned they face execution if found guilty at trial – upcoming show in the small state, which is not internationally recognized.
Senior official Elena Shishkina referenced Pinner, Hill and Moroccan captive Saadun Brahim when she said today they would not be swapped.
Shishkina, who chairs the DPR’s parliamentary committee on criminal and administrative legislation, said: “They did not act here as military men, who respect international conventions. They acted as terrorists, like neo-Nazis. , so any exchange is excluded”.
Aiden’s name was not mentioned.
The death penalty is suspended in Russia and abolished in Ukraine.
In the YouTube video, Aiden looks relaxed and brags about gaining weight from the “incredible” food he receives.
The Mirror is not publishing the video.
One was titled “Greetings from Police Custody” and it tells viewers he’s cleared to call home.
He said: The situation is that Britain is aware of… my existence. They know what is going on.
“I was allowed to phone them, to talk to my family.
“For all I know [the] UK Government – they have measures in place to secure my release, however, I don’t know what the steps are and hopefully in the future I will learn more about what the steps actually will be like an exchange of prisoners.
In one broadcast, he told viewers, “So my name is Aiden Aslin. If you don’t remember who I am, I’m a British citizen, born in Nottingham, in 1994.”
He added: “Five weeks ago I visited the [Donetsk People’s Republic] forces in the city of Mariupol.
“If you want to ask about the reality of military service in the Ukrainian army as a foreigner… you can find my email address and feel free to send messages to ask me anything about… life as a soldier in the Ukrainian Army.
He promises to “tell you everything you want to know”.
Then he gives a culinary guide to life in his DPR prison.
He said: “Just so people understand my daily diet… for breakfast I had kasha [porridge] with milk and then we drank a Russian glass…
“It’s hot, it’s sunny [kissel]. And we get bread. And for lunch we had pavlok, like a different kasha [porridge] with meat in it, which is amazing.
“And then for dinner, we had mashed potatoes with… fish.
“So that’s good in my book, as you can see, I have a bit of…fat coming back to me now that I’m eating well.
“So I’m not as skinny as in my first video after two months without eating in Mariupol.
“So obviously a good sign that I’m eating well.”