A British volunteer fighter in Ukraine has been captured by Russian troops in the besieged southeastern port city of Mariupol, according to a statement issued on his behalf.
Aiden Aslin, 28, who goes by the name “Johnny”, said his unit had tried its best to defend Mariupol but “had 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,” he added.
He is hoping he could become part of a prisoner exchange.
The former care worker from Newark, Nottinghamshire, has been using the online alias “Cossack Gundi” to update his thousands of social media follower on the defence of Mariupol.
The statement on Twitter concluded: “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.”
Back in January, Mr Aslin gave a joint interview with fellow volunteer soldier Sean Pinner, 48, to Sky News’ Stuart Ramsay.
He said he had started a new life in Ukraine with his fiancee before the invasion – prompting him to stay and fight Vladimir Putin’s troops.
He previously volunteered to fight the Islamic State in Syria before moving to Ukraine in 2018, where he served in the country’s marines.
Mariupol has been under intense attack by Russian forces for several weeks, with the UK now “working urgently” to confirm reports of a possible chemical attack in the city.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss said any confirmed use of such weapons in Mariupol would be a “callous escalation” of the war.
Mr Aslin’s capture appeared to be supported by other sources who have spoken with him.
One of his friends told Atlas News: “I just spoke with [Aslin]. His unit is out of ammo and food. They have no other option but to surrender. He said he loves you all. He is strong in spirit and showed no weakness at all.
“He is surrendering to Russians which is only slightly better than surrendering to the Chechens. Their commander will be meeting them soon. Please Lord have mercy.”
Before the war broke out, Mr Aslin told Sky News that people thought he was crazy for signing up to fight and argued he should not even be Ukraine.
“That’s a true argument from their side, but I’m here, my fiancee is Ukrainian, I’ve got a house in Ukraine, I’m building a family,” he said.
“There will always be that person who says I shouldn’t be here, but at the end of the day if I’m not here, like my government’s not here, so like this is the best I can do by doing what my government can’t do.”