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Former British PoW Aiden Aslin meets ‘Putin’s top target’ as fighter presents Ukraine’s military intelligence chief with a copy of his book

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A former British PoW has met ‘Putin’s top target’ as the fighter presented Ukraine‘s military intelligence chief with a copy of his book. 

Aiden Aslin, 30, met the man Vladimir Putin most wants to assassinate on Thursday – Ukrainian military intelligence chief Lt-Gen Kyrylo Budanov, 38.

Aslin – then fighting for Ukraine – was captured by Russian forces in April 2022 after the fall of Mariupol and was sentenced to death by the Russian-controlled Donetsk People’s Republic for ‘mercenary activities’.

But Aslin was freed in September 2022 and allowed to come home the UK.

He has since returned to Ukraine and presented a copy of his book to Budanov – whose GRU military intelligence directorate is behind dozens of attacks on Putin’s forces, including Thursday’s multiple strikes on occupied Crimea.

Former British PoW, Aiden Aslin (right), 30, today met the man Vladimir Putin most wants to assassinate – Ukrainian military intelligence chief Lt-Gen Kyrylo Budanov, 38 (left)

'I had the immense pleasure and distinct honour of meeting the illustrious Kyrylo Budanov,' said Aslin

‘I had the immense pleasure and distinct honour of meeting the illustrious Kyrylo Budanov,’ said Aslin 

Aslin added: '[Budanov] played a pivotal role in securing our release, personally overseeing every detail of our case. In a moment of deep gratitude, I presented him with a copy of my book, expressing my heartfelt thanks for his extraordinary efforts on our behalf'

 Aslin added: ‘[Budanov] played a pivotal role in securing our release, personally overseeing every detail of our case. In a moment of deep gratitude, I presented him with a copy of my book, expressing my heartfelt thanks for his extraordinary efforts on our behalf’

‘I had the immense pleasure and distinct honour of meeting the illustrious Kyrylo Budanov,’ said Aslin.

‘He played a pivotal role in securing our release, personally overseeing every detail of our case. In a moment of deep gratitude, I presented him with a copy of my book, expressing my heartfelt thanks for his extraordinary efforts on our behalf.’

The book – Prisoner of Putin – recounts Aslin’s time as a PoW in Russian occupied Ukraine.

The GUR said: ‘During the meeting, Aiden presented a book to Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov.

‘The head of the GUR of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine presented the British volunteer with a signed flag of the International Legion, which Aiden will hand over to his comrades in arms.’

The meeting comes as Ukraine is seeking more foreign fighters to come to its aid in holding off Russia’s counteroffensive.

Russia’s FSB has been revealed as being behind the attempted assassination of Budanov who has won wide respect among Western intelligence and military chiefs for his unconventional tactics in holding off Putin’s numerically superior armed forces.

The FSB also sought to kill his wife Marianna, 30, by poisoning with ‘arsenic and mercury’.

Budanov has been called the man Putin most wants to assassinate due his success in scoring painful blows on the dictator’s forces.

Aslin who was held as a prisoner of war for six months before being released in 2022, is now in the embattled Ukrainian city of Avdiivka - a key frontline hellhole in the war

Aslin who was held as a prisoner of war for six months before being released in 2022, is now in the embattled Ukrainian city of Avdiivka – a key frontline hellhole in the war

Aslin was captured by Russian forces in April 2022 after the fall of Mariupol and was sentenced to death by the Russian-controlled Donetsk People's Republic for 'mercenary activities' and activities to overthrow the 'constitutional order

Aslin was captured by Russian forces in April 2022 after the fall of Mariupol and was sentenced to death by the Russian-controlled Donetsk People’s Republic for ‘mercenary activities’ and activities to overthrow the ‘constitutional order

British citizens Aiden Aslin (L) and Shaun Pinner (R) and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (C) attend a sentencing hearing at the Supreme Court of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on June 9 2022

British citizens Aiden Aslin (L) and Shaun Pinner (R) and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (C) attend a sentencing hearing at the Supreme Court of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on June 9 2022

The book - Prisoner of Putin - recounts Aslin's time as a PoW in Russian occupied Ukraine

The book – Prisoner of Putin – recounts Aslin’s time as a PoW in Russian occupied Ukraine

It comes after Russian forces shelled a five-storey apartment building on Thursday in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, triggering a fire and causing damage, officials said, warning that residents could be trapped under rubble.

‘A fire has broken out. People could be under the rubble,’ Regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov said of the attack, which occurred at about midnight local time.

Mayor Ihor Terekhov said several strikes had occurred in the area after the initial hit and reported a series of explosions.

Ukrainian army chief Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi said on his Facebook page on Thursday that Russia is bringing army units into the Kharkiv region from other parts of Ukraine to supplement forces in the two main flashpoints of fighting, the towns of Vovchansk and Lyptsi. Syrskyi said that Ukraine has also moved reserve troops into the area. 

Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence operation said on Thursday that sea drones destroyed two Russian KS-701 patrol boats in the Black Sea off the Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula. Russian officials didn’t immediately comment.

Mr Aslin (pictured), of Newark, Nottinghamshire, said his motivation to return was his love for his adopted country of Ukraine despite his brush with death

Mr Aslin (pictured), of Newark, Nottinghamshire, said his motivation to return was his love for his adopted country of Ukraine despite his brush with death

Ukrainian firefighters conduct an extinguishing efforts and continue cooling works at the site of a Russian shelling on the residential areas of the town of Lyman, Donetsk Oblast on Ukraine on May 29, 2024

Ukrainian firefighters conduct an extinguishing efforts and continue cooling works at the site of a Russian shelling on the residential areas of the town of Lyman, Donetsk Oblast on Ukraine on May 29, 2024

Fire fighters work on putting out the fire broke out after the Russian rocket attacks, which injured 7 people, in the village of Mala Danilivka in Kharkiv district of Ukraine on May 30, 2024

Fire fighters work on putting out the fire broke out after the Russian rocket attacks, which injured 7 people, in the village of Mala Danilivka in Kharkiv district of Ukraine on May 30, 2024

Ukrainian rescuers work at a site of a rocket hit to the riding hall of the Equestrian Center of the Veterinary Academy in Mala Danylivka village near Kharkiv, Ukraine, 30 May 2024

Ukrainian rescuers work at a site of a rocket hit to the riding hall of the Equestrian Center of the Veterinary Academy in Mala Danylivka village near Kharkiv, Ukraine, 30 May 2024

The air force said that the overnight attacks included eight S-300 ballistic missiles, 11 cruise missiles and 32 Shahed drones. All the drones and seven of the cruise missiles were shot down, the air force said, but didn’t provide further details.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said that its air defenses shot down eight US-made ATACMS missiles over the Azov Sea, which borders both Russia and Russia-held Ukrainian territory.

One person was wounded by a drone explosion in Russia’s Belgorod region, which borders Kharkiv and comes under daily attack from the Ukrainian side.

A lengthy delay in US military aid and Western Europe’s inadequate military production has slowed crucial deliveries to the battlefield for Ukraine, and Russia has exploited the delays to make advances in the Kharkiv region.

Russian missiles and bombs also have pummelled Ukrainian military positions and civilian areas, including the power grid.

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