The situation in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol is “catastrophic,” and the Ukrainian forces are largely to blame for it, a UK citizen identified as Aiden Aslin, who reportedly fought in the city, said in a video obtained by RT.
The British man apparently surrendered to Russian forces along with Ukrainian marines earlier this week.
Aslin said that when he joined the Ukrainian military in 2018, he believed he was with the “good side.” He explained that the situation in Mariupol was “an eye-opener” for him, claiming he sought to convince his commanders to leave the city, but they chose to stay, not least because Kiev supposedly wanted them to stay.
“The situation in Mariupol is catastrophic. It could have been avoided should Ukraine have left but they chose to stay. Zelensky had a big role [in this decision]. He could have told them to leave but they stayed. I did not want this, I wanted to leave because we do not need war,” Aslin can be seen saying in the video.
What he saw in the city during the weeks of heavy fighting also influenced his views on the Ukrainian military. “It was like seeing reality for the first time,” Aslin said, adding that he witnessed a “lack of care for civilians” on the part of the Ukrainian military.
“They [the Ukrainian soldiers] looted supermarkets when civilians needed food to survive in the encircled city; they [the military] took food from the supermarkets. They would stop civilians [from] going out to get water. They would stop civilians from taking water from a supermarket that had been looted; water they had themselves taken.”
“They are criminals,” he added, referring to the Ukrainian soldiers, when asked about the Ukrainian military allegedly killing civilians in the city.
The man, who claims that previously he joined the Kurdish forces in Syria to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), says he wants nothing more than to go home to his family and does not want to join any foreign military again, because he is “done for, after Mariupol.”
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.