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Aiden Aslin now a pawn in Putin’s total war strategy, says Ukrainian historian in Nottingham

todayJune 19, 2022 1

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Dr Liudmyla Sharipova is an assistant professor of early modern European history in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham. She was born and raised in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, in the 1980s. Nottinghamshire Live asked Dr Sharipova for her thoughts after Aiden Aslin, from Nottinghamshire, was sentenced to death by a Russian court earlier in June. Aiden had been captured by Russian forces while fighting in Ukraine.

Dr Liudmyla Sharipova writes: “On June 9 this year two British men Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, and the Moroccan national Saadoun Brahim, were sentenced by the “Supreme Court” of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” in Russia-occupied Eastern Ukraine to execution by the firing squad.

“The three expatriates had made Ukraine their home and lately valiantly fought for their adoptive country against the full-scale Russian invasion that began on 24 February 2022. The news would have sent shivers down one’s spine even if the “court” and the “republic” (“established” eight years ago, in 2014, following a predatory land grab by Russia) had been real entities.

Read more: Ukrainian University of Nottingham historian thinks only NATO can stop ‘Satan’ Putin

“The awful truth is, they are not, the “DPR’s” closest contemporary equivalent is the terrorist “Islamic State”, and the whole set-up is but a giant blood-soaked puppet-theatre created by Vladimir Putin in pursuit of the dictator’s insane geopolitical objectives.

“His first goal is to obliterate independent Ukraine, destroy the Ukrainian nation, and assimilate it into Russia. The second is to use the “new territories” as a launch-pad for further conquests to recreate a hybrid version of the Soviet Empire, aimed to include the Soviet Union’s and the Russian Empire’s former European colonies (Finland, Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus).

“The third objective is to restore the “evil empire’s” Cold-War era protective belt of satellites in Central Europe by ripping them out of NATO. Finally, the crowning glory of Putin’s war and his rule generally is supposed to be the uphill task of propelling his economically, demographically, and morally bankrupt country into the position of a global player capable of dictating its will to “the West”. Modern Russia’s only palpable claim to greatness lies in reported possession of about 1,500 ready-to-launch nuclear warheads.



British citizen Aiden Aslin stands behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk

“If the whole plan sounds crazy to you, it is. If you find it risible, laughing out loud would be premature. If it makes you afraid, you are right to be. But what does all this mean for the fates of the three men sentenced to death by Putin’s proxies in Donetsk?

“Let us be clear: the “sentence” of a kangaroo “court” in an occupied territory controlled by a fascist regime is as illegal as illegal can be. The “court” decides precisely on nothing and is being used by its Russian puppet-masters as a mouthpiece for delivering conditions of surrender to the civilised world.

“It has been calculated recently that from the time of its occupation of the Crimea in 2014 Russia was found to be in breach of nearly 400 international treaties, including fundamental conventions of the UN. Therefore expecting legality or mercy from Putin, the man who bends Russia and its associates to his evil will, is futile.

“Terrorists take hostages to dictate terms. Russian propaganda artists hate Britain, both for the values it represents, and for helping the beleaguered nation of Ukraine today to withstand Russia’s murderous onslaught. Putin’s first condition is the withdrawal of Western military assistance to Ukraine.

“Crossing Ukraine’s border on 24 February, his soldiers carried parade uniform in their kitbags. They hoped to seize Ukraine’s capital Kyiv in three days and take possession of the rest of the country within a fortnight. Nearly four months later, mortal remains of more than 30,000 Russian military personnel have filled up cemeteries in Russia’s impoverished remote regions, ended up in mass graves or refrigerating units in Ukraine, or were disposed of in the ovens of the mobile crematoria that Russian troops brought along with them.

“They are used to cover up the real size of military losses as well as minimising financial compensation to families back home. Halting Western help to Ukraine is literally a matter of life and death to Putin’s regime that would not survive a military defeat. Another aim is to deter foreign volunteers from joining the Ukrainian army.

“Brave and experienced men and women from nearly 40 countries are currently fighting for Ukraine’s survival, and the withdrawal of as many as several thousand seasoned troops from the front would certainly bring relief to Russia’s faltering military effort.

“Another Russian lie is to brand Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Saadoun Brahim “mercenaries”. As Ukraine’s citizens or legal residents, each one of them signed a contract with the national armed forces. Therefore they should be treated as war prisoners who have inviolable rights, above all not to be subject to local criminal jurisdiction, not to mention kangaroo “courts” in illegally occupied territories.

“The UN human rights office, OHCHR, has unequivocally condemned the death sentence handed down to the three men: “Such trials against prisoners of war amount to a war crime,” said OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.

“Will the three prisoners of war be executed? While, regrettably, in the paranoid “Russian world” such an outcome cannot be ruled out, the main reason for their capture and illegal “trial” is what Putin sees as strengthening his bargaining power. A straightforward exchange of war prisoners between parties in the conflict is out of the question.

“Completely uninterested in getting back his own military personnel who surrendered or were captured by the Ukrainian forces, what Putin and his henchmen have in mind is an asymmetrical exchange in the form of Ukraine’s “disarmament” and large territorial concessions.

“Their ultimate goal is the division of the world into “spheres of influence” between the only powers Putin considers “sovereign” apart from Russia itself: the US, China, Japan, Germany, and France. Pathetic delusions of world domination aside, even his immediate demands are wildly unrealistic. Ukraine would not “disarm” and let the genocide of its people take its “natural course”, and the Russian ability to gain a military victory to secure temporarily occupied territories is questionable to say the least.

“On a larger scheme of things, as Winston Churchill had rightly predicted, and history subsequently showed, those who choose dishonour hoping to avoid war end up being both without honour and at war. Frustrated by military failure and feeling cornered, the Russians could execute the three prisoners of war as a demonstration of their “power” over defenceless men or just in a fit of senseless rage. Only Putin’s own demise or the collapse of his regime can prevent this.

“Poisoned by years of toxic propaganda, many people inside Russia and its proxy the “DPR” believe the death sentence pronounced by the kangaroo “court” to be fair because it is meant to defend the puppet “state” from imaginary “threats” from its Ukrainian and Western “enemies”. A moratorium on capital punishment has been in force in Russia since 1996 but not in the “DPR”. A large segment of Russian population look favourably upon the moratorium’s removal in their country, too.

“But they should be careful what they wish for. When Joseph Stalin, one of Putin’s role models in history, began to persecute foreigners and “traitors to the nation” in the 1930s, many Soviet citizens initially supported his actions. But terror always turns upon its perpetrators or those complacent with it. In the 20 th century Stalin’s totalitarian rule killed 10 million Soviet people. How many Russians are going to pay with their lives for the blind faith in Putin in the 21 st century, is too early to say.

“Russia’s total war in Ukraine will be brought to a close sooner or later, better sooner than later, and hopefully with Ukrainian – and the rest of the civilised world’s – victory. Today Russia’s irretrievable military losses count at 33,000, with the number of wounded or maimed soldiers standing at twice that figure.

“Together the dead and the injured make up nearly 30% of the Russian military contingent brought to Ukraine’s soil since the end of February. By most conservative estimates, to date the war cost Ukraine the lives of about 50,000 civilians (322 of them children), and no less than 10,000 military personnel. We should wish and pray that Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Saadoun Brahim not become part of that awful statistic.”

Written by: thehitnetwork

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