Captured British fighters paraded on Russian state plead Boris Johnson for prisoner swap with Putin ally
Two British fighters captured in Ukraine have been paraded on Russian state TV, with the pair pleading with Boris Johnson to exchange them for an ally of Vladimir Putin.
Shaun Pinner, 48, and Aiden Aslin, 27, were captured by Russian forces last week while defending the South-East port city of Mariupol alongside Ukrainian marines.
Footage of the pair was aired by the Rossiya 24 TV channel today, however it is unclear if the two men were able to speak freely as they were prompted by an unidentified man in the video.
They asked for Johnson to help free them in return for the release of Viktor Medvedchuk – a political leader of the Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s East – who is being held by Ukrainian authorities.
Pinner said “that I beg on my behalf and Aiden Aslin’s behalf to help us in an exchange for Mr Medvedchuk”.
Aslin added: “If Boris Johnson really does care about British citizens like he says he does then he will help.”
It came on the same day as Ukraine’s foreign intelligence service released a video of Medvedchuk in which he asks Putin to exchange him for captured Ukrainian soldiers.
Medvedchuk said he was making a “plea for the Ukrainian side to exchange me for the defenders of Mariupol and its citizens who are there today have no opportunity for a safe exit through a humanitarian corridor”.
Pinner previously served in the Royal Anglian Regiment of the British Army for nine years and also fought against the Islamic State in Syria alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection units.
Aslin, who was posting updates on the Ukraine war under the Twitter handle CossackGundi, is a former care worker who also fought alongside the Kurds in Syria.
A Foreign Office source said: “We are aware of the detention of two British nationals and have been in touch with their families to support them.
“Given the situation in Ukraine, our ability to obtain information and provide consular services on the ground is severely limited.”
It comes as Ukrainian troops are still holding Mariupol, however it has been widely predicted that the key target will fall to Russian forces any day now.