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Britons reunited with family after being detained by Russian forces

Britons reunited with family after being detained by Russian forces

Five British people who were held captive in Ukraine by forces backed by Russia have returned to the UK.

After arriving at Heathrow Airport, Aiden Aslin, John Harding, Dylan Healy, Andrew Hill, and Shaun Pinner were reunited with their families.

After Saudi Arabia claimed to have arranged a trade between Russia and Ukraine, ten prisoners—including the five Britons—were freed.

The Presidium Network verified that the five soldiers had returned home safely.

Cassandra Pinner, Mr. Pinner’s sister, said they are just so relieved that he is back, safe and sound. He’s in good spirits and still laughs as much as ever!

She expressed her gratitude to everyone who helped organize his return and expressed her shock that the day had finally arrived.

Mr. Pinner, a Bedfordshire native, claimed in a video taken on the aircraft that they had only managed to escape “by the skin of our teeth.”

The Nottinghamshire native continued, “We’re finally out of the danger zone and heading home to our family.”

Dominik Byrne, the co-founder of the UK-based non-profit Presidium Network, which has been helping Mr. Healy’s family, stated that they are all “looking forward to normality with their families after this awful ordeal.”

While engaged in combat with Ukrainian forces, Mr. Aslin, Mr. Pinner, Mr. Harding, and Mr. Hill, 35, of Plymouth, were taken.

Mr. Healy, a young man from Cambridgeshire working as a volunteer relief worker in Ukraine, was taken prisoner alongside Paul Urey at a checkpoint in April by forces backed by Russia; Urey passed while in captivity in July.

The procedure that resulted in the men’s release has not been verified by the UK government.

Mr. Aslin, 28, and Mr. Pinner, 48, were given death sentences in July by a court in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.

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One of the people awaiting trial was Mr. Harding, a man in his 50s from Sunderland.

The announcement of the release, according to Prime Minister Liz Truss, put an end to “months of uncertainty and agony for them and their families.”

She thanked Saudi Arabia for their help and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “for his efforts to obtain the release of captives.”

The men were exchanged for 215 Russian prisoners, including commanders of the Azov unit, who defended Mariupol, in one of the biggest prisoner swaps of the conflict so far.

Along with 55 Russian servicemen, pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician and oligarch Victor Medvechuk—who was facing treason charges—was also given up by Ukraine in exchange.

Officials in Moscow are rejoicing over the homecoming of their troops. According to the Kremlin, the freed convicts were getting “required psychological and medical help.”

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