‘I want to go back and fight’: British PoW, 36, who was captured and tortured by Putin’s troops in Ukraine describes how he watched Russian soldiers blow up children… and STILL wants to return to the frontline
- Scaffolder Andrew Hill, 36, left his partner and job to go and fight in Ukraine
- On a mission in Oleksandrivka, near Kherson, Hill was shot in arm and captured
- Hill was released last month in prisoner swap brokered by Roman Abramovich
- Despite traumatic events, Hill ‘doesn’t regret it’, and ‘wants to go back and fight’
A British prisoner of war, who was captured and tortured by Vladimir Putin’s troops in Ukraine, said that he watched in horror as Russian troops blew up children – but he would still not hesitate to go back.
Scaffolder Andrew Hill, 36, left his partner and job to go and fight in Ukraine when the war started.
However, while out on a mission he was shot, captured and tortured by Russian troops.
Scaffolder Andrew Hill (pictured), 36, left his partner and job to go and fight in Ukraine when the war started.
However, while out on a mission he was shot, captured and tortured by Russian troops
Dragged around to various camps and prisons in Ukraine by Putin’s army, his captors even used his phone to send ransom messages to his family, including his 13-year-old daughter.
Mr Hill was freed last month as part of a deal that also saw fellow British prisoners of war Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner released and is now back home.
However, despite the traumatic events that he went through, Mr Hill said that he ‘doesn’t regret it at all’, and that he ‘still wants to go back and fight’.
‘I haven’t settled in at home and it’s still active in my mind. I’m glad I went out there, it was the right thing to do and I don’t regret it at all’, he told The Sun.
He added: ‘I still want to go back and fight. I feel strongly for Ukraine and I want to help in any way I can. But my team has said that I can sit the next one out.’
Within a few days of heading out to Ukraine, Mr Hill witnessed horrific atrocities committed against civilians and children.
Mr Hill was freed last month as part of a deal that also saw fellow British prisoners of war Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner released and is now back home
However, despite the traumatic events that he went through, Mr Hill said that he ‘doesn’t regret it at all’, and that he ‘still wants to go back and fight’
He initially bought a one-way ticket to Poland and went straight to the front line in Irpin, Ukraine.
Mr Hill said: ‘We were at an observation point and there were some kids playing in front of us, maybe about 100 metres away, and they were around 13 years old.
‘We had a clear sight of them and we got on the radio to let the command know so they could get a team together to clear them off.
‘Just as that was about to happen the Russians targeted that play park with artillery and directly hit the children. The Russians don’t care. To me it almost seems like a genocide. They want to eradicate Ukrainian culture.’
Mr Hill, a former soldier in the British Army, was later deployed in Bucha — where the Russians massacred hundreds of civilians.
He said: ‘The Russians left a mess behind. There were bodies littering the streets everywhere. They found a mass grave. The Russians were just killing everything and everyone.
‘There was a lot of destruction. When we drove into Bucha, you could see the corpses which had been left on the road.’
On a mission in Oleksandrivka, near Kherson, Mr Hill was shot in the arm, consequently shattering the bone.
He was captured and taken to various different prisons and camps in Donetsk where he was forced to appear in social media videos and was regularly beaten by Vladimir Putin’s army.
At one point during his hostage, Mr Hill’s partner Candice, 35, and the rest of his family in Plymouth, Devon, were told he was dead.
From left: John Harding, Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin pose for a selfie as they sit on a flight out of Russia to Saudi Arabia Wednesday evening
The soldier who had shot and captured Mr Hill also used his phone to send messages to them.
Mrs Hill said: ‘My phone just lit up and said I had a message from Andrew’s phone. They said they wanted 250,000 Euros by a certain date or he’d be dead. The soldier had messaged everyone Andrew had on WhatsApp.
‘Every day there was something new and we told the Foreign Office about them straight away. We were only able to cope because we knew he was still alive.’
Mr Hill was eventually freed in the prisoner exchange organised by Saudi Arabia and former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Mr Hill returned with the sustained injury to his arm and now has a metal frame to help the bones mend. He has been told it could take up to two years to heal properly.
Mr Hill’s family were not the only one’s targeted – Angela Wood, 51, the mother of Aiden Aslin, said that Putin’s goons would send her videos of her son being tortured – but she bravely told them to ‘f*** off’ every time.
Ms Wood was repeatedly contacted by the monsters who held her son, British fighter Aiden Aslin, 28, during the five months they imprisoned him after he was captured in Mariupol.
But she was not intimidated by their threats and demands and told them where to go when they shamefully sent her images and videos of her son suffering.
The horrifying clips showed Aslin bound on the floor, surrounding by screaming Russians in a cesspit jail in Russian-held Donetsk, Ukraine.
Mum-of-three Angela was pressured by the Russians over social media to convince Boris Johnson to secure the release of Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, 58, long thought to be Putin’s man in Ukraine.
Kremlin ally in prisoner swap
Viktor Medvedchuk, pictured shortly after his arrest, was reportedly released in exchange for the 10 prisoners of war which included five Brits
Russian nationalists reacted with fury yesterday after Ukraine secured the release of more than 200 prisoners of war.
The surprise deal saw commanders and soldiers from the elite Azov regiment freed with just 55 Russian detainees handed to Moscow, including staunch Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk, pictured. But Kremlin hardliners said Russia should have sought more concessions.
Former Russian colonel Igor Girkin branded the pact ‘treason’. He said the prisoner exchange ‘was worse than a crime and worse than a mistake. It is unacceptable stupidity’.
‘We have freed 215 of our people… of whom 124 are officers. Of those we have freed, 108 are Azov fighters,’ said Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff.
Moscow also released ten foreigners, including five British nationals.
Last night, Ukraine’s military intelligence unit said many of those freed showed signs of torture.
She told The Sun: ‘They knew how vulnerable the families were, how anxious we felt, and they tried to turn the screw in a bid to take us to breaking point.
‘They knew we were suffering and they tried to exploit it for their own gains.
‘It was extremely hard to deal with — but we refused to play their games. As a mum, you’ll do everything to stop your children being harmed.
‘You don’t want to see your son tied and bound. I could hear Russians in the background demanding things.
‘But I refused to be cowed so I fought back. I told them to f**k off every time.’
Angela praised the support she received from the parents of Aslin’s fellow PoWs the Foreign Office, MPs and the Ukrainian ambassador in getting through her five-month ordeal.
She said they collectively provided her with the strength to stand up to Putin’s goons and resist their pressure.
Aslin spent his first day of freedom back on British soil with his family in Newark, Nottinghamshire in an emotional reunion.
The release was brokered by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, 55, who joined the Brits on the flight to Saudi Arabia and even gave them iPhones so they could call their families.
The five hostages made an emotional return to UK and ate steak, canapes and tiramisu with the Russian oligarch, according to reports.
Angela sent an emotional message of thanks to the oligarch, who has been sanctioned by the UK and most other western nations for his past involvement with the Kremlin, but is now attempting to play peacemaker in the war in Ukraine.
Angela said: ‘I want to thank you so much. I’ll forever be grateful.’
She also thanked the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his successor, Liz Truss, Newark MP Robert Jenrick, and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
She told the BBC that she had only found out about her son’s released from the Foreign Office on the morning it happened.
‘I thought this day would never happen,’ an elated Angela said. ‘His release happened overnight, I’m still in shock.
‘The first thing I needed to do was to give him a big hug and make sure it was real. It still doesn’t feel real now.’
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