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On Russian official TV, two captured British fighters request to be switched with a pro-Russian politician

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

NewDelhi: Two British fighters captured in Ukraine by Russian forces appeared on Russian official television and requested to be switched for a pro-Russian lawmaker being held by Ukrainian authorities, as per media reports.

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It was unclear how freely the two guys – Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin – were permitted to speak, according to sources.

Both British fighters have requested that Prime Minister Boris Johnson assist them in returning home in exchange for the release of pro-Russian lawmaker Viktor Medvedchuk by Ukraine.

“We look to exchange myself and Aiden Aslin for Mr Medvedchuk. Obviously I would really appreciate your help in this matter,” he said, saying he spoke a little Russian and had been treated well.

Pinner was recorded on tape stating he was taken in Mariupol while battling with Ukrainian Marines, according to a British website. Pinner claimed he has been battling for the previous five to six weeks in the port city.

Aiden Aslin, a British national from the Nottinghamshire town of Newark, was one of the final Ukrainian troops to surrender at Mariupol. In 2018, he enlisted as a marine in the Ukrainian armed forces and petitioned for citizenship.

Aslin battled for more than 50 days to defend Ukraine, but his unit was forced to surrender due to a lack of supplies. The soldier seemed to have scrapes and bruises on his face in the video carried by Russian official television.

The unnamed individual was then seen interacting with Aslin, who was seated in a chair and wearing a T-shirt with the Azov battalion’s logo.

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“I think that Boris needs to listen to what Oksana (Medvedchuk’s wife) has said,” said Aslin, who also looked nervous according to reports.

According to reports, Ukrainian security services released a video on Monday of Viktor Medvedchuk, an imprisoned pro-Russian Ukrainian entrepreneur and politician, appealing for his release in return for Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the beleaguered port city of Mariupol.

“I want to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to exchange me for Ukrainian defenders and residents of Mariupol,” he said in the video, wearing black clothes and looking directly into the camera.

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