A British man captured by the Russians in Ukraine was freed last week and says he was “treated worse than a dog” having been stabbed during five months in solitary confinement.
Aiden Aslin was one of five Britons freed as part of a prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday after the Saudi government brokered a deal.
Aslin, 28, said he was tortured, beaten if he refused to sing the Russian national anthem each morning and shared a tiny cell with cockroaches.
He had been a carer, but moved to Ukraine and was serving with its regular forces when Russia invaded in February. He was captured during the siege of Mariupol along with Shaun Pinner, another Briton, after their unit was starved of food and ammunition by Russian infantry. Both later were convicted of being mercenaries and were sentenced to death.
Aslin, from Newark, Nottinghamshire, told The Sun on Sunday he was punched in the face when his captors realised he was British, then separated from other fighters and sent to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
At one point he said an “officer was smoking a cigarette and knelt down in front of me to ask, ‘Do you know who I am?’ I said ‘no’ and he replied in Russian, ‘I am your death.’ He said, ‘Did you see what I did to you?’ He pointed to my back. He showed me his knife and I realised he’d stabbed me. He then asked me, ‘Do you want a quick death or a beautiful death?’ I replied in Russian, ‘A quick death.’ He smiled and said, ‘No, you’re going to have a beautiful death . . . and I’m going to make sure it’s a beautiful death.’ ” Last week he was freed along with Pinner, John Harding, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill.
Pinner, 48, who had been in the British Army, said he had been stabbed, beaten and was fed on only stale bread and dirty water. In Mariupol, he said: “There were so many bodies, it looked like something out of a zombie apocalypse.”
He had a hood placed on his head and was given electric shocks. “It was a ferocious shock. They did it for 40 seconds each time. It seemed like they were just doing it for fun. A guy came in and put a pistol to the back of my head, cocked it and said, ‘You are going to die now.’ I thought that was the end for me. He then started laughing and said he was joking and pistol-whipped me.”