Brit fighting for Ukraine 'set to surrender after running out of ammo' in Mariupol

12 April 2022, 11:26 | Updated: 12 April 2022, 11:46

British volunteer Aiden Aslin is understood to have surrendered in Mariupol along with his unit
British volunteer Aiden Aslin is understood to have surrendered in Mariupol along with his unit. Picture: Aiden Aslin/Alamy

By Asher McShane

Fears are growing over the safety of a Brit fighting alongside Ukrainian marines in the devastated city of Mariupol amid reports he faced "no choice but to surrender" alongside his unit "after running out of food and ammunition."

British volunteer Aiden Aslin, also known as Johnny, and other international volunteers have laid down arms, according to sources in contact with him on the ground in Ukraine.

They are understood to have ceased fighting after running out of food and ammunition.

A post shared by a contact on twitter reads: "It's been 48 days, we tried our best to defend Mariupol but we have no choice but to surrender to Russian forces. 

"We have no food and no ammunition. It's been a pleasure everyone, I hope this war ends soon.

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"We're putting this out after direct consultation with his family. Until we're told otherwise we'll continue working on sharing the facts of the war. Hope for a prisoner exchange."

Aiden had been posting updates on the conflict under his @cossackgundi Instagram account but it has since been deleted.

Someone posted on twitter on Aiden's behalf 12 hours ago: "We've had no contact with Johnny since last Thursday. As he said going into this, no news is good news. I had a terrible feeling about this war, but never yet about Johnny. I believe he'll make it through."

A few hours ago another post emerged that appeared to confirm he had surrendered: "We've gotten word from Johnny.

"It's been 48 days, we tried our best to defend Mariupol but we have no choice but to surrender to Russian forces. We have no food and no ammunition. It's been a pleasure everyone, I hope this war ends soon."

It is understood Aiden spoke to his family prior to surrendering, telling them they had "no weapons left." His mother told the BBC he "put up one hell of a fight."

His mother Ang, told the Newark Advertiser he was "OK and had made contact with his fiancee," before reports of his surrender emerged.

"Of course I'm worried about him and his unit going into Russian hands, but they are the most bravest and courageous men right now.

"They fought until they couldn't fight any more. They had no food, no ammunition, only water. He said that last night Russians dropped a chemical bomb via a drone over civilians and soldiers."

It comes amid accusations the Russians have deployed chemical weapons during their efforts to take the port city of Mariupol.

The city has seen some of the bloodiest fighting of the conflict, as well as multiple accusations of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets.

Armed forces minister James Heappey told LBC this morning that "all options are on the table" if it is confirmed Russia used chemical weapons in the country.

The Foreign Secretary also vowed to hold Vladimir Putin "and his regime to account" if it is proven Russian forces used chemical agents in an attack on Mariupol.

Liz Truss tweeted: "Reports that Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on the people of Mariupol. We are working urgently with partners to verify details.

"Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account."

The city's Azov regiment reported soldiers were left dizzy and unable to breathe after a "poisonous substance of unknown origin" was dropped on them from a Russian drone, according to the Daily Mail.

It came hours after Mariupol's mayor said more than 10,000 civilians have died in the Russian siege of his city and the death toll could surpass 20,000.

Britain is increasingly worried that Russia could use white phosphorus munitions in the bombardment of the city.

White phosphorus is used for illumination at night or to create a smokescreen, but when it is deployed as a weapon it causes horrific burns.

Western officials think Russia wants to bring about the fall of Mariupol to both free up troops for the fight in the Donbas but also to create a route north for the Kremlin's forces as they look to form a pincer movement on Ukrainian defenders in the east.

Officials have said Mr Putin will double or even possibly triple the number of Russian troops in the Donbas as the Russian president resorts to a "diminished" invasion strategy.

The amassing of troops, however, will not necessarily give Moscow an advantage over Ukraine, with Kyiv's forces having had success in pushing back insurgents in the east of the country, they said.

The Russian leader has been forced to "diminish considerably" the plan in Ukraine, one official said, amid suggestions Mr Putin wants to take the Donbas region before May 9 - when Russia traditionally marks the Soviet Union's Second World War victory against Nazi Germany with military parades in Moscow - in an attempt to claim victory for his so-called "special operation".

Meanwhile, late on Monday Ukraine's parliament said Russian forces had fired on nitric acid tanks in Donetsk, with residents of the eastern city urged to prepare "protective face masks soaked in soda solution".

The Foreign Office said it was "shocked" by reports of mass graves being found in the village of Buzova outside Kyiv.

Local officials said bodies showing "evidence of execution" had been discovered following the Russian withdrawal.

Buzova is near Bucha, another town where atrocities were discovered - although Russia has claimed the scenes from the aftermath of its occupation were staged.

The UK will work with allies to "investigate war crimes and ensure justice is done", a Foreign Office spokesman said.