Aiden Aslin, the British-Ukrainian national sentenced to death by a Russian proxy court for fighting with Ukrainian Armed Forces, has been told that his execution will go ahead.

Former care worker Aslin, 28, had been serving as a Ukrainian marine in the besieged city of Mariupol, before being captured by Russian forces along with fellow Briton Shaun Pinner in April. In a Twitter post on Tuesday, April 12, Aslin announced that he had “no choice but to surrender to Russian forces”, after his unit reportedly began running out of ammunition. Two days later, he appeared in a video in handcuffs and appeared to have sustained physical injuries to his face.

Aslin stands accused by Russia of being a mercenary, which would render him unprotected by Geneva Conventions. However, Aslin has been serving in the Ukrainian 36th Marine Infantry Brigade since 2018, leading to widespread agreement from international humanitarian organisations that his circumstances do not fit the legal definition of a mercenary (a person who fights in foreign militaries for financial gain). Regardless, on Monday, June 6, Russian-backed separatists of the self-proclaimed and Russia-supported Donetsk People’s Republic’ (which is not internationally recognised) announced four criminal charges against Aslin, Pinner, and Morroccan national Saadoun Brahim. Three days later he was sentenced to death.

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British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called the verdict a “sham judgement with absolutely no legitimacy”, with British member of Parliament Robert Jenrick, who represents Aslin’s hometown district of Newark, labelling it a “disgusting soviet-era show trial.”

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On Wednesday, June 21, Mr Aslin told his family that his captors confirmed to him that his execution would go ahead as planned, the BBC reports.

In a phone call with Aslin, his family said the captured soldier had relayed to them that “time is running out.”

“Aiden was extremely upset when he called his mother this morning”, his grandmother Pamela Hall told the BBC.

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“The bottom line is Aiden has said the DPR has told him nobody from the UK has made contact, and that he will be executed.”

“I have to believe what Aiden has said to us, that if the DPR don’t get some response then they will execute him. Obviously I hope that isn’t true.”

“I have cried buckets over this, but crying doesn’t help, I want to do so something but I don’t know what to do,” Mrs Hall said.

“After Aiden’s call this morning what am I supposed to think? I don’t want to lose heart but it’s very hard. I can’t help but think that contact should be made between the UK and Russia.”

Alsin had been due to marry his Ukrainian fiancée.

“He would have been married by now, it’s something that I would have dearly loved. I want him to be married and have the life that he wanted,” his grandmother said.

“I know that Boris Johnson has been over to Kyiv and spoken again to President Zelensky and I am hoping they spoke about these guys.”

A spokesperson for the UN said: “Such trials against prisoners of war amount to a war crime. According to the chief command of Ukraine, all the men were part of the Ukrainian armed forces and if that is the case, they should not be considered as mercenaries.”

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If the release or exchange of Aiden is not negotiated, Aslin is set to be executed by firing squad – although the date scheduled date for execution has not been specified.

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