Five British nationals that were being held by Russian forces in Ukraine have been released and will return home to their families.
In a post on Twitter, Prime Minister Liz Truss called the news ‘hugely welcome’ before thanking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for his assistance in ensuring the five Brits were released.
Truss said: “Hugely welcome news that five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families.
“I thank @ZelenskyyUa for his efforts to secure the release of detainees, and Saudi Arabia for their assistance.
“Russia must end the ruthless exploitation of prisoners of war and civilian detainees for political ends.”
Hugely welcome news that five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families.— Liz Truss (@trussliz) September 21, 2022
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has also expressed his happiness at the news before offering condolences to the family of British aid volunteer Paul Urey, who died while being held by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.
Cleverly said: “I welcome the safe return of Ukrainian prisoners of war and one civilian, including five British nationals. Prisoners of war from other countries held by Russia-backed proxies have also been returned. This brings to an end many months of uncertainty and suffering, including the threat of the death penalty, for them and their families, at the hands of Russia.
“Tragically that was not the case for one of those detained and our thoughts remain with the family of Paul Urey.”
He went on: “I would like to express my gratitude to President Zelenskyy and his team for their efforts to secure their release, and to HRH Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman and his team, for their assistance.
“I continue to call on Russia to comply with International Humanitarian Law and not exploit prisoners of war and civilian detainees for political purposes.”
As of yet, the five British nationals have not been named, but Robert Jenrick, MP for Newark, said that Aiden Aslin was amongst them.
Jenrick said: “I am delighted that my constituent, Aiden Aslin, and the other British prisoners of war held captive by the Russian authorities have finally been released and are on their way back to the UK.”
He added: “Aiden’s return brings to an end months of agonising uncertainty for Aiden’s loving family in Newark who suffered every day of Aiden’s sham trial but never lost hope. As they are united as a family once more, they can finally be at peace.”
Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire, was sentenced to death alongside Shaun Pinner, 48, after being captured while battling Kremlin troops in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.