Some things to consider before watching the 40-minute interview:
Aiden Aslin is considered a mercenary fighting alongside Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade. His family disputes that designation since he has dual-citizenship.
As a mercenary, he’s not subject to the Geneva Conventions. As a member of Ukraine’s armed forces, he is subject to the Geneva Conventions.
On April 12, Aslin announced on Twitter that he had “no choice but to surrender to Russian forces” in Mariupol after running out of ammo.
Aslin is a POW in Russian custody in Donetsk. That is the capital city of the Donetsk People’s Republic in the Donbas region. They have declared their independence from Ukraine and Russia has recognized their independence. They are actively engaged in hostilities with Ukraine, and have been for 8 years.
The fact that Aiden is a POW could affect what he says during the interview.
Graham Phillips (British journalist) used to work for Russian news agency RT (Russia Today) and is pro-Russian. His bias does show in the interview with Aiden.
Some of what Aiden alleges has been confirmed as true through my own reporting, independent journalists on the ground, and refugees. That doesn’t mean Russia hasn’t committed its own war crimes, they have.
I don’t post this to take Russia’s side, as will undoubtedly be proclaimed. I have posted interviews with captured Russian soldiers too. The point is for you to see it and come to your own conclusions.
You have a right to information that you are being denied. It’s usually easy to see if a POW believes their own statements. If I’m honest, Aiden doesn’t seem to exhibit the usual tells. Neither did the statements by captured Russian soldiers for that matter. This doesn’t mean that you should forget that he is still in Russian custody and giving an interview with a pro-Russian journalist from the UK for propaganda purposes, and is likely compelled to do so.
I’d also like to point out that Aiden released a video shortly before he surrendered without a cut on his forehead. When pictures of him were released by Russia, he had a gash on his head. It’s not apparent how he got it but it’s assumed he was roughed up by Russians. In this interview, his hair is covering the cut on his head.
It would be interesting to see if Aiden changes his story if he’s freed, which I sincerely hope is soon.