Aiden Aslin is a British national who fought against Russian invasion within the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In April 2022, he was taken prisoner-of-war in the besieged Mariupol, and recently, was sentenced to death in the so-called DNR.

‘Bukvy’ spoke to Ihor, Aiden’s brother-in-arms, who earlier served with Aiden Aslin in the Marine battalion.


Aiden Aslin’s military career in Ukraine

Igor says that Aiden came with a group of foreigners with the intention of fighting for Ukraine as part of a volunteer battalion. He and his comrades tried to join the Azov Regiment, but failed. After that, Aiden joined the Marines. He signed a contract with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which completely contradicts the theses of Russian propaganda and the DNR ‘court’ regarding mercenaries.

‘Aiden and a few other guys got enlisted in the 137th Marine Battalion, where we met. Then, in 2020, he was transferred to the 1st Marine Battalion of the 36th Brigade, where he was first in the assault company and then in a mortar division. He is not a mercenary according to Ukraine’s  legislation, because he had an officially signed contract with the Armed Forces’, Ihor stated.

Aslin told about another Briton who came to Ukraine – Shaun Pinner, who was also sentenced to death today:

‘If I’m not mistaken, he is a former British soldier. Pinner also served in the assault company of the 1st Marine Battalion’.


Why did Aiden Aslin come to fight for Ukraine?

Ihor told that Aslin came to Ukraine with ‘the best intentions’. Back in the UK, he worked as a carer for the elderly. He later volunteered for the Kurdish resistance forces in Syria. After that, he came to Ukraine.

‘He always had one goal – to help. He was like a big child – a sincere, honest guy. He saw in the news what was happening in Ukraine and that we faced Russian aggression and decided that he could be useful here, to do something useful’, Ihor says. He believes that Aslin was also motivated by the fact that he had a romantic nature.

Ihor stressed that his former colleague was neither a racist, nor a skinhead, as it is attributed to him by Russian propaganda.


How Aiden was captured

Since the beginning of a full-fledged Russian invasion on February 24, Aiden Aslin defended Mariupol (Donetsk region) as part of the 1st Marine Battalion. At some point, without supplies and weapons, they were surrounded. After that, Aslin wrote to Ihor:

‘Sometime in March, he wrote to me that they would not be able to win that battle (he meant the situation in which his unit found itself), because there was a complete lack of ammunition and food. He said that their fate depended on the commander and the only way out was to surrender, because there was simply nothing to fight back. And after a while another acquaintance told me that Aiden was taken prisoner-of-war, after that I deleted this conversation.’


Are there any state guarantees for foreigners fighting for Ukraine?

According to the British legislation, Aslin and Pinner became violators of the law when they began participating in hostilities in Ukraine. Here is what Ihor says about it:

‘Under the British law, they are considered mercenaries because the country’s citizens are prohibited from serving in foreign armies. Aiden broke the law when he came here. He said that it was very difficult for him to return home, because he would have a lot of questions, he could even be imprisoned for taking part in the fighting in Ukraine. This is the problem: their homeland is not very interested in them, because they are almost criminals there, but our country is not interested in them either. That is, a man came to fight for Ukraine, was taken prisoner – and there is no state support. This is a very bad attitude.’

Ihor has repeatedly heard that when Aslin or other foreigners had encountered problems, they were simply told ‘well … it was your decision to come here’.

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner took the oath to the Ukrainian people; they have been officially part of the Armed Forces of our state for many years. They must be legally protected by Ukraine, as they have been defending it for years. Again, it is important: they are not mercenaries.

‘There is a legion created by President Zelensky. However, Aiden and Pinner served in the other unit. They were registered by the enlistment office, they are official contractors, they are our official servicemen. Legally, they must be fully protected by our state.


They have all the rights that all prisoners of war have under all international conventions. They were not part of any illegal formations, they are just servicemen of the Armed Forces’, – says Ihor.

Ihor also shared the fact that both Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were trying to obtain Ukrainian citizenship.

‘They asked to be granted Ukrainian citizenship, and they were trying to obtain it, but they were not able to receive it because of the bureaucratic system’, Ihor stated. He added that according to the law, a person who has served for 3 years can apply for a residence permit, but they did not get it.