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Canadian troops are being sent to assist the recovery from the devastation of storm Fiona, which swept away houses, stripped off roofs and knocked out power across the country’s Atlantic provinces.
Chilling words of Russian torturer who asked me if I wanted ‘quick death or beautiful death’, says Brit POW Aiden Aslin
A BRIT captured by the Russians in Ukraine today details his remarkable five-month survival fight — and how his captors said his death could either be “quick” or “beautiful”.
In his first interview since being freed this week, brave Aiden Aslin, 28, tells The Sun on Sunday how he was beaten up, stabbed and forced to listen to Soviet songs in a tiny cell for 24 hours a day.
Aiden Aslin says his Russian captors warned him he could have a ‘quick’ or ‘beautiful’ death[/caption]
Aiden says he was repeatedly beaten by the Russians while held prisoner[/caption]
His terrifying ordeal only came to an end after ex-Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich brokered an extraordinary prisoner swap.
Aiden, reunited yesterday with his mother and his Ukrainian fiancée, admitted: “I never thought I’d get out alive.”
Notts-born Aiden had built a new life in Ukraine in 2018 — falling in love with Diane Okovyta and joining the marines.
He then fought the Russians after their invasion in February.
READ MORE AIDEN ASLIN
But his battalion was cornered when it ran out of food and ammo at the bloody siege of Mariupol in April.
Before they surrendered, Aiden rang his mum Angela Wood, 51, and also told Diane: “No matter what, I will see you again.”
However, he soon feared his days were numbered.
He recalled: “They flicked through my passport and quickly realised it wasn’t Ukrainian.
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“The soldier asked in Russian, ‘Where are you from?’ I told him I was from Great Britain and he punched me in the face.
“They separated me from the others and began interviewing me in the back of an armoured vehicle.
“I went to my commander and said, ‘Look I’m going to be taken, they’re probably going to kill me, I need you to tell my family when you get out, if you get out, that I love them’.”
Aiden was driven on to the Donetsk People’s Republic, led into a detention centre with a hood over his head and beaten repeatedly with a nightstick during interrogation.
Each answer he gave was met with another beating, while they also threatened to cut off his ear.
After he collapsed on the floor, he was struck again across the forehead – suffering injuries the world would see 24 hours later when Vladimir Putin’s henchmen announced his capture on social media.
Aiden said: “The officer was smoking a cigarette and knelt down in front of me to ask, ‘Do you know who I am?’ I said ‘no’ and he replied in Russian, ‘I am your death’.
He said, ‘Did you see what I did to you?’. He pointed to my back. He showed me his knife and I realised he’d stabbed me.
“He then asked me, ‘Do you want a quick death or a beautiful death?’.
“I replied in Russian, ‘A quick death’. He smiled and said ‘No, you’re going to have a beautiful death . . . and I’m going to make sure it’s a beautiful death.”
Over the next five months, he was held for 24 hours a day in a cell just 4ft by 6ft and littered with cockroaches and lice.
He was starved of sunlight and only allowed out to film propaganda videos and take calls with the Foreign Office.
His captors played the Russian national anthem on a loop and ordered him to stand and sing it or be beaten again.
When they flipped open the grill of his cell, he was ordered to yell: “Glory to Russia.”
In May, he went on trial for being a mercenary and used the opportunity to communicate with his family — rubbing his nose when lying.
Amid global outcry, he was sentenced to death and told he would be shot dead by a firing squad.
Aiden said: “During the entire five months in captivity, I couldn’t cry.
“When I heard I’d been given the death sentence I wanted to cry but I just couldn’t. It was literally a matter of surviving.
“Your life is in the hands of these people and you do what they tell you to do or you suffer the consequences.
“Despite everything we went through, I knew sooner or later we would see light at the end of the tunnel and that I would get back to see Diane and my family.”
Aiden has been reunited with Ukrainian girlfriend Diane Okovyta[/caption]
The news he had long hoped for finally arrived this week when he was hooded, marched out of his cell and placed on a truck headed for Rostov-on-Don airport in Russia.
Aiden said: “I heard one of the soldiers saying ‘exchange’. I started getting excited but kept telling myself, ‘Stop it, stop it’.
“I might have misheard. They said, ‘Have you heard the news about the Queen?’.
“I’d heard about it on the radio in my cell a few days earlier so I said ‘Yes’. It was quite emotional.
“I was put in the truck, told to drop to my knees and had tape wrapped round my wrists and eyes.
“We were put into a stress position and linked together so we couldn’t move.
“I still had no idea what was going on but after a number of hours we arrived at the airport.”
He went on: “I’d removed the tape and was trying to process where I was. I’m looking at a group of Saudis and one of the lads says, ‘Is that Roman Abramovich?’”
It then dawned on them they were being freed. When they boarded the plane, Abramovich shook Aiden’s hand, telling him: “It’s good to have you here.”
He added: “We sat down and Shaun sat next to me. Abramovich was watching everyone.
“He was a bit shy and didn’t want to hassle us. It was amazing.
“Less than 48 hours earlier I was in solitary confinement, treated worse than a dog and now I was on a plane with people who didn’t want to hurt me.”
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Tearful Aiden, who is back at his mum’s home in Newark, met his young nephews for the first time yesterday.
He said: “I want to thank Mr Abramovich from the bottom of my heart. I’m here today because of him and not in that horrible place.”
Aiden and four more Brit PoWs were released as part of a prisoner exchange[/caption]
Aiden was part of the Ukrainian resistence defying Vladimir Putin’s invading Russians[/caption]
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