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The family of the British soldier captured by Russia in the Ukraine conflict have urged Vladimir Putin to treat him humanely.
Aiden Aslin has dual British-Ukrainian nationality and had been fighting in Mariupol when his regiment were forced to give up their position as the Russians continued their heavy assault on the south-eastern city.
The first images of him since his capture were posted yesterday (April 14) and now, Russian state TV have posted footage of the 28-year-old being led around in handcuffs. He has gashes and a swollen eye as well as a cut on his head.
In response to the footage, his grandmother Pamela Hall said to The Guardian: “It’s propaganda. Ukraine is his adopted country. He’s engaged to a Ukrainian lady, they live together."
She added: "He was due to get married this month, and they were talking about setting up a new home together, children – great-grandchildren in my case.”
His mother, Ang Wood, told the BBC that she hoped the Kremlin would treat her son as a prisoner of war as per international rules.
She said: “He called me and said they have no weapons left to fight. I love my son, he is my hero. They put up one hell of a fight. Boris [Johnson] needs to take Putin down.”
Adding that she recognised the soldier as her son because of his distinctive tattoos, she said: “It’s Aiden, I can’t deny it. It’s him “I’m in bits. My son will be scared just as we are.
“I now hold Vladimir Putin to the terms of the Geneva convention" she continued. "Aiden is a serving member of the Ukrainian armed forces and as such is a prisoner of war and must be treated with humanity.
“It already looks like he has been beaten up. It is time now for the British government to get involved and help secure Aiden’s release.”
Aslin had been defending Mariupol for 48 days, an area which has sustained some of the heaviest and most enduring Russian punishment since the war began.
A friend had been running the marine's Twitter account - where he is known as Cossack Gundi or Johnny - and broke the news of his capture earlier in the week.
“We've gotten word from Johnny," the post read.
"'It's been 48 days, we tried our best to defend Mariupol but we have no choice but to surrender to Russian forces.
“'We have no food and no ammunition. It's been a pleasure everyone, I hope this war ends soon.’"
The account added: “We're putting this out after direct consultation with his family. Until we're told otherwise we'll continue working on sharing the facts of the war.
“Hope for a prisoner exchange.”
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