YouTube says it has removed a hostage video of a Nottinghamshire man who had been captured in Ukraine and forced in front of cameras by his Russian captors. Aiden Aslin’s mum, Ang Wood, recently spoke to Nottinghamshire Live in Newark of her distress, saying she wanted her “hero back”.
Mr Aslin had been fighting with his unit, having left Newark to join the Ukrainian Marines in 2018, in the besieged south-eastern city of Mariupol. Russia claimed more than 1,000 Ukrainian troops from the Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade that surrendered in Mariupol, which now sits in ruins.
A 45-minute film was released online and posted on YouTube, during which he was questioned by Graham William Phillips, a man believed to be from Nottingham who has previously worked for the Kremlin-backed television channel RT. He has been accused of spreading Moscow’s propaganda over an MP’s claims the video with Mr Aslin could amount to a war crime.
Many, including Mr Aslin’s mum and Newark’s Conservative MP Robert Jenrick, had called on YouTube to take the video down. Videos on YouTube can also be monetised, causing significant controversy over any such sums which may have been made from the hostage footage.
It is understood it has since been removed. A spokesman for YouTube told Nottinghamshire Live: “The video in question has been removed after we received a valid privacy complaint.”
YouTube says it has also indefinitely suspended monetisation on Graham Phillips’ channel for violating the Creator Responsibility policy. Mr Aslin, who is 28, left his hometown in Nottinghamshire to move to Ukraine in 2018, where he joined the military shortly after.
He was born in Nottingham, and grew up in Newark, where “everyone loved him”. His mum described him as a “charismatic individual, very loveable, who was a man of the world and loved travelling”.