We drove through icy forests on icy roads to a place outside Mariupol, meeting with a Ukrainian military commander.
We were told early to park near the store and wait for them to escort us to the front line.
Outside the rather crowded and inconsolable shop, groups of soldiers drank hot coffee and drank sandwiches.
A tough man left the group, put his AK-47 on his shoulder, and approached the open door of our van.
I called for our local producer to come and translate.
The soldier put his head in and said in a wide English accent: “You are from Sky News.”
This was my first meeting with Aidan Aslin, at which time he called himself Johnny Wood.
“It’s a nickname,” he said.
“The boss told me to stay here, we’re going somewhere else, I’ll see you there.” And he left.
Sky producer Dominique Van Herden chatted on WhatsApp with Aidan’s marine partner Sean Pinner.
Prior to our meeting, they asked Dominic if we could offer some reminders about the United Kingdom.
Sean wanted Marmit and Aidan wanted PG Tips.
We had already left Britain, so we could not do that.
“No problem,” Sean replied. “If you can get a sausage, maybe. I share it with the boys. “These guys do it every day, so I like to give them something,” he wrote.
The organization of this meeting required a great deal of effort on all sides, especially for the two Britons, who were uncomfortable with their Ukrainian counterparts being different or superior.
We drove to a number of frozen trenches just a few hundred meters from the Russian-sponsored separatist lines.
A light-bearded soldier, stiff and thin, approached and shook my hand.
“I’re Sean,” he said. Originally from Watford և Bedfordshire, Sean looked like a longtime professional soldier, he really served in the British Army for nine years, he told me.
We arranged to interview them in the trenches where they now lived.
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Throughout our lives, both men constantly and individually insisted that they considered Ukraine their home, that they always lived here, that they were not going to leave.
They admitted that an elite unit of the Ukrainian army, like the Royal Navy, had a dispute with the navy.
But they had contracts, they repeated several times that they were not foreign volunteers or mercenaries. they were adamant that Sky News made that clear.
“I married a Ukrainian, I have a great right to be here, boys, it took me a long time to integrate here, so the boys know that I’m not a war tourist or a war addict,” Sean explained to me. .
“I am with an organized unit, I am with the government, I am a contract soldier, so I tried to stay away from that volunteer unit, the ‘militia’.”
Sean was working in the waste management business in England when he decided he could no longer do the 16-hour, long-haul M25.
He said he had returned to England with a son who often visited him in Ukraine.
This was his fourth business trip, his fourth year living here. He told us that he and his wife intend to volunteer to help when his contract with the military expires in December this year.
Eidan Aslin, 28, who at the time wanted to be nicknamed Johnny Wood in the broadcast, was on his third tour.
He told us he knew people thought he was crazy to join, but in the end his life was in Ukraine.
He has a house here, he is engaged to a Ukrainian woman, he had plans to start a family.
“When I first came here, the boys were a little skeptical, they said why are you here, are you crazy?” he said.
“But after a while I assimilated, I learned the language, I still speak like a child when I speak Russian, but I speak enough to convey the message, so now the boys like to see me like any other Ukrainian boy.”
Russia does not have the death penalty, this court of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic is not recognized as having any legitimacy anywhere in the world except Moscow.
Today’s beliefs of Sean Pinner յ Aidan Aslin have been widely condemned և The hearings were rejected as a show trial.
However, this does not mean that the Russian-backed separatist leaders will not serve their sentences.
Neither they nor President Putin have shown any concern about the consequences lately.
Ukrainian war. Sky host Stuart Ramsey recalls British convicts’ meeting on the front line World News
Source Ukrainian war. Sky host Stuart Ramsey recalls British convicts’ meeting on the front line World News