A British man who joined Ukraine's marines is said to have surrendered to Russian forces in Mariupol after his unit ran out of supplies and ammunition

·2 min read
  • Reports indicate a British man fighting for Ukraine surrendered to Russians in the city of Mariupol.

  • Aiden Aslin, 27, joined Ukraine's marines in 2018 after fighting against the Islamic State in Syria.

  • His Twitter account says he and his unit ran out of food and ammunition while defending the city.

A 27-year-old man British man from the town of Newark-on-Trent is said to have surrendered to Russian forces in the city of Mariupol after running out of food and ammunition while fighting for Ukraine.

According to his Twitter account cited by The Guardian, Aiden Aslin, a former care worker, joined the Ukrainian marines in 2018 and took an oath to defend the Ukrainian people. The Evening Standard reported that he's a member of the 39th Brigade Ukrainian Marines.

—Jake Hanrahan (@Jake_Hanrahan) April 12, 2022

The account is being run by a friend of Aslin's while he's been in Ukraine, The Guardian reported.

"It's been 48 days, we tried our best to defend Mariupol, but we have no choice but to surrender to Russian forces," Aslin's account tweeted Tuesday, apparently relaying a message from the fighter. "We have no food and no ammunition. It's been a pleasure, everyone. I hope this war ends soon."

—COSSACKGUNDI (@cossackgundi) January 26, 2022

Aslin's mother told the BBC's Emma Vardy that he and his unit had "put up one hell of a fight" and that Aslin had called her to say they "had no weapons left."

A later tweet from Aslin's account rejected the notion that Aslin was a mercenary, saying he had joined the Ukrainian military as a "totally legal combatant."

"Mercenary, a word idiots try to attach to him, has a defined legal meaning," the account wrote. It cited the Geneva Conventions' definition, which lists a criterion for identifying mercenaries as "not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict."

According to the Russian state media agency TASS, Russia has declared that foreign mercenaries fighting in Ukraine won't be treated as prisoners of war under international law. "At best, they can expect to be prosecuted as criminals," a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said, per TASS.

Aslin previously fought alongside US-backed Kurdish YPG units in Syria against the Islamic State from 2015 to 2017, per The Guardian.

Mariupol, in Ukraine's south, has been under siege for more than 40 days, with much of the city having fallen into the hands of Russian-backed separatists or Kremlin forces. Mayor Vadym Boychenko estimated that 90% of the city's infrastructure had been destroyed and that at least 10,000 civilians had died because of the fighting.

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