British fighter filmed singing Russian national anthem after being captured by Putin’s forces


A British man who was captured by Vladimir Putin’s forces in Ukraine has been filmed singing the Russian national anthem weeks after being handed a death sentence.

Aiden Aslin is unshaven and has short hair as he sings “The State Anthem Of The Russian Federation” in a small room with bars over the windows and a table in the middle.

The 28-year-old, from Newark in Nottinghamshire, is wearing blue tracksuit bottoms and a red shirt over a red T-shirt as he sings the anthem for around two minutes.

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He is stood next to former US police officer John Dougan, who moved to Russia in 2016 and is now reported to be a prominent conspiracy theorist helping to spread pro-Moscow disinformation online.

In the video, which was shared by Russia Today journalist Roman Kosarev on the Telegram messaging app on Friday, Mr Dougan nods his head and smiles throughout the rendition.

He then applauds once Mr Aslin has stopped singing and tells him the performance was “amazing”.

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In a post accompanying the video, Mr Kosarev says Mr Aslin’s cellmates had told him he had a talent for singing after hearing his rendition of the anthem.

Mr Dougan is then said to have asked Mr Aslin if he would be happy to sing the anthem on camera.

“He gladly agreed, and that’s what happened,” Mr Kosarev adds.

Sky News has chosen not to show the video.

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June: Aiden Aslin reacts to death sentence

Former care worker joined Ukraine’s armed forces in 2018

Mr Aslin is one of two British men who were sentenced to death by a Russian-backed court in June after fighting in Ukraine.

The former care home worker and Shaun Pinner, 48, have been accused of being mercenaries.

Mr Aslin joined Ukraine’s armed forces as a marine in 2018 and has applied for citizenship.

He also has a Ukrainian fiancee.

The British fighter said “God will be the one who will judge me when the time comes” after he was sentenced to death.

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Brits sentenced to death

Foreign Office criticises ‘sham judgements’

Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner were captured in Mariupol in April during the intense fight for control of the Ukrainian port city, before appearing in court in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) – a self-proclaimed pro-Russian breakaway region in east Ukraine.

They were found guilty of “mercenary activities and committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order of the DPR”, according to the Russian Interfax news agency.

The UK Foreign Office considers the verdicts to be “sham judgements” and is supporting Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner’s families.

The men say they were serving with regular military units in Mariupol, so should be protected as prisoners of war by the Geneva Convention.

Mr Aslin’s family said in a statement after the verdicts that the pair were not mercenaries and that they needed time to “take everything in”.

It went on: “We love Aiden with all our hearts. He and Shaun, as members of Ukrainian armed forces, should be treated with respect just like any other prisoners of war.”

They said they hoped the sentence would be overturned, and they called on the British and Ukrainian governments to “do everything in their power to have them returned to us safely, and soon”.

It added: “We can only imagine what they are going through right now. This is a very upsetting development.”


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