Two British fighters finally free from Russian captivity have spoken of escaping ‘by the skin of our teeth’.
Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were among ten prisoners of war, including five British nationals, safely returned home last night.
The weary pair have issued thanks for the efforts made to secure their release.
In a video message, Mr Aslin said: ‘We just want to let everyone know we’re now out of the danger zone, we’re on our way home to our families.
‘We wanted everyone to know the good news, thank you to everyone who has been supporting us.’
Mr Pinner added they had escaped ‘by the skin of our teeth’.
Both men had joined the Ukrainian army after moving to the country, starting relationships and formally enlisting.
The pair had been captured by Russian forces while fighting in Mariupol.
Prime Minister Liz Truss announced the news of Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner’s release last night, saying it ended ‘months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families’.
She thanked Volodymyr Zelensky ‘for his efforts to secure the release of detainees, and Saudi Arabia for their assistance’.
The move had come following mediation by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Around 215 Ukrainian prisoners have also been released overnight.
Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, described the news as ‘the day the whole of Ukraine was waiting for.’
She tweeted: ‘The thoughts and joy of millions of Ukrainians are with them today. We are grateful.’
Her husband issued a video address last night, referencing Vladimir Putin’s worrying plans to mobilise thousands of new Russian troops.
Around 300,000 people could be deployed to fight in Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelensky suggested that Russia’s decision to mobilise reservists showed that Moscow is not serious about negotiating an end to the war.
Speaking by video to the UN General Assembly meeting of world leaders insisted his country would prevail in repelling Russia’s attack and forcing its troops out.
‘We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it with the force of arms,’ the president said. ‘But we need time.’
Zelensky also laid out what he said were five non-negotiable conditions for peace.
These included punishment for Russian aggression, restoration of Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity, and security guarantees.
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