'Small window of opportunity for prisoner exchange' for Ukraine prisoner of war Aiden Aslin, says Newark MP Robert Jenrick
Newark MP Robert Jenrick says the plight of Newark prisoner of war Aiden Aslin is being raised at the highest levels of the Ukrainian government.
Aiden, 28, and fellow Brit Shaun Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, together with Moroccan Kyiv resident Saaudun Brahim, 21, have been sentenced to death in the Ukrainian breakaway republic of Donetsk People’s Republic.
The BBC reports that Aiden has been told his execution will go ahead and that he has told his family in Newark that his captors have told him there had been no attempt by UK officials to negotiate on his behalf.
However, Mr Jenrick said: "I am in regular contact with the Foreign Secretary and I have been assured that this is being discussed with the Ukrainian government at the very highest level.
"There remains a small window of opportunity for a prisoner exchange to be agreed between Ukraine and Russia.
"Again, I must stress that, contrary to Russian propaganda, Aiden Aslin is not a mercenary. He has been living in Ukraine and serving in its armed forces long before Russia's illegal invasion and, as a prisoner of war, he is entitled to protection under the Geneva Convention."
A protest takes place in Nottingham on Sunday, from 11.30am, to campaign for the release of Aiden and other prisoners of war held by Russia.
Aiden's grandmother, Pam Hall, is urging as many people as possible to go along.
She told the Advertiser: “As a family we can’t believe what’s happening.
“When the sentence was passed our reaction was one of total disbelief. They are being painted as mercenaries, or criminals, when the reality is that they were serving soldiers — British citizens but men of Ukraine who deserve to be treated like any other prisoners of war.
“I don’t believe it was a fair trial; it was a show trial. In Russia, there is no death penalty for prisoners of war. The Donetsk People’s Republic wants to be part of Russia so it should follow their example and not carry out this sentence. I want to hear from Russia. I want to know what Russia thinks.
If you can reach out to someone of influence no matter where in the world you are, please do so. If you are in Nottinghamshire, please join this protest.
The protest has been organised by the Notts Ukraine Solidarity Campaign and is sponsored by the Newark Labour Party, of which Pam isn’t a member.
The organisers said: “Three soldiers of the Ukrainian army fighting back against the Russian invasion have been sentenced to death by Putin’s regime in Donetsk because they were not born in Ukraine.
“We are campaigning for this hideous threat made against them to be lifted.
“It is in breach of international law - the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war.
“We demand their immediate release, the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and an end to the crimes committed by Putin’s forces on the Ukrainian people and its brave fighters now held as PoWs.”