‘I was treated worse than a dog’: Freed British hostage Aiden Aslin tells how Russian captors asked if he wanted a ‘quick or beautiful death’ after being stabbed, beaten and forced to listen to Soviet songs while in solitary confinement for five months
- British volunteer in Ukraine Aiden, 28, was beaten and stabbed while imprisoned
- His Russian captor asked him: ‘Do you want a quick death or a beautiful death?’
- Notts-born Aslin was serving with Ukraine’s regular forces after signing up
- He spent five months in captivity and was sentenced to death by court in July
- But a lengthy diplomatic effort saw Aiden and four other Brits return home safely
A British ex-prisoner of war captured in eastern Ukraine revealed he was stabbed and beaten before being told by a Russian officer: ‘I am your death.’
Nottinghamshire-born volunteer Aiden Aslin, 28, was punched in the face when he told his captors that he is British.
Aiden finally arrived home on Thursday after five months of torture and exploitation, which included being handed a death sentence after a sham trial in Russian-held Donetsk.
Home safe: Aiden (right) posted a picture to Instagram on the plane home alongside fellow ex-hostages Shaun Pinner (second from right), John Harding (left) and Dylan Healy (sat behind)
Aiden promised Ukrainian girlfriend Diane Okovyta that he would see her again. But during the five months in solitary confinement, he admitted: ‘I never thought I’d get out alive’
He told The Sun: ‘I never thought I’d get out alive.’
The former care worker, from Newark-on-Trent, described the moment a Russian officer stabbed him and smiled.
Aiden said: ‘The 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.
The Foreign Office released this undated image of Shaun smiling with his family, which is thought to have been taken after his return home in the early hours on Thursday morning
Aiden and the other ex-captives are led to their jet to be brought home in the prisoner swap
‘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.”’
Aiden’s battalion surrendered to Russian forces in besieged Mariupol after weeks of intense fighting ended in April.
After running out of food, the dogged Ukrainian unit was finally forced to give in.
Aiden phoned his mother and girlfriend, telling them: ‘No matter what, I will see you again.’
The group of British hostages were forced to listen to Soviet anthems and ABBA songs at extreme volumes.
Mum Angela Wood, 51, was even contacted by Aiden’s captors numerous times – but claimed she ‘refused to be cowed’.
‘I told them to f**k off every time’, Angela revealed yesterday.
Aiden added: ‘During the entire five months in captivity, I couldn’t cry.
‘When I heard I’d been given the death sentence I wanted to cry but I just couldn’t. It was literally a matter of surviving.
‘Your life is in the hands of these people and you do what they tell you to do or you suffer the consequences.
Ex-Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is thought to have orchestrated the bold trade
‘Despite everything we went through, I knew sooner or later we would see light at the end of the tunnel and that I would get back to see Diane and my family.’
Aslin was set free on Wednesday alongside Shaun Pinner, John Harding, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill.
Ex-Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich reportedly negotiated the Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap, which saw the Brits travel home via Saudi Arabia.
Aiden explained: ‘We sat down and Shaun sat next to me. Abramovich was watching everyone.
‘I’m looking at a group of Saudis and one of the lads says, “Is that Roman Abramovich?”
‘He was a bit shy and didn’t want to hassle us.’
Abramovich then shook his hand and told him: ‘It’s good to have you here.’
Aiden said: ‘It was amazing. Less than 48 hours earlier I was in solitary confinement, treated worse than a dog and now I was on a plane with people who didn’t want to hurt me.’
The exhausted group landed in Britain in the early hours of Thursday morning.
A photo issued by the Foreign Office appeared to show a beaming Mr Pinner with his loved ones.
Mr Harding, Mr Pinner and Mr Aslin were hailed as defenders of ‘democracy and freedom’ by their former commander in Ukraine.
They are believed to have served in the Georgian Legion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer unit, under Mamuka Mamulashvili.
‘All those guys did their best to defend democracy and freedom,’ Mr Mamulashvili told the PA news agency.
It comes as the family of British aid worker Paul Urey, who was reported to have died while being detained by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine, said the repatriation of his body will give them closure.
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