Former Wagner Group leader seeks asylum in Norway | Russia

The authorities said that an alleged former commander in the Russian mercenary group Wagner had sought asylum in Norway, after he deserted the organization, which played a central role in some of the major battles in the Republic of Norway. Ukraine conflict.

And Andrey Medvedev, 26, reportedly crossed the border into Norway Near Pacificdalen Valley shortly before 2am last Friday, he was arrested and detained by border guards.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) confirmed to the Associated Press that Andrei Medvedev had taken refuge in the country but “for reasons of security and privacy … cannot comment further on this matter”.

Police, who did not confirm his identity, said in a statement to AFP that the man was “detained by the Norwegian Border Guard and Norwegian police at 1.58 am (0058 GMT)” on Friday morning.

“He has applied for asylum in Norway,” said Tarji Sirma-Televesen, chief of police staff in Finnmark, northern Norway.

Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer, Brynjolf Resens, told L.E BBC Medvedev is being held in Oslo, where he faces charges of illegal entry into the country and desertion after witnessing war crimes in Ukraine.

Resnes said his client is no longer in custody, but in a “safe place” while his case is being analyzed. If he was granted asylum in Norway this charge [of illegal entry] Risnes said.

“He has announced that he is willing to talk about his experiences in the Wagner Group to people investigating war crimes,” the lawyer said, adding that Medvedev allegedly served as a unit commander in charge of five to ten soldiers.

Norwegian police said they were alerted late Thursday by Russian border guards, who discovered traces in the snow that could indicate someone had crossed the border illegally. Police said the man was arrested by border guards and that the arrest was not tragic.

Medvedev’s lawyer told AFP on Monday that after crossing the border, his client sought out local residents and asked them to call the police.

Medvedev has been on the run since his defection from the Wagner Group on July 6, according to the Norwegian News Agency. NTB.

He reportedly told a Russian human rights group that he is ready to tell everything he knows about the Wagner Group, its activities and its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a multi-millionaire with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Prigozhin confirmed to the BBC that Medvedev was a former soldier in Wagner.

Rights group Gulagu.net, which advocates for prisoners in Russian prisons, has it Published interviews With Medvedev, including One After crossing into Norway, where he details his dramatic escape.

When I was on the ice [at the border]I heard dogs barking, I turned around, and saw people with flares, about 150 meters (500 feet) away, running in my direction,” Medvedev said in one of the videos. “I heard two shots, and bullets whizzed around me.”

According to Gulagu.net, Medvedev originally signed a four-month contract with Wagner in early July 2022 and allegedly witnessed executions and reprisals against those who refused to fight and wanted to leave.

According to Resense, Medvedev said “he went through something completely different from what he expected” after joining the special mercenary group, which has been at the forefront of major battles in Ukraine.

Medvedev wanted to leave and after claiming to have witnessed war crimes in Ukraine, Medvedev said his contract had been extended without his consent. “He understood there was no easy way out, so he decided to just run,” said Risnes.

Medvedev then reportedly spent two months underground in Russia, before crossing the border into Norway last week.

The Guardian has not been able to independently verify Medvedev’s account.

The Wagner Group includes a large number of convicts who were recruited from Russian prisons and who led the attacks in Ukraine. The group has become increasingly influential in Africa, pushing Russian disinformation, building alliances with regimes, and acquiring oil, gas, gold, diamonds, and precious metals.

The Associated Press and AFP contributed to this report

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