Wagner Group veterans seek asylum in Norway | Russo-Ukrainian War
Andrey Medvedev says he fled Wagner in July after witnessing other fighters being killed and mistreated.
Authorities say a veteran who fled Russia’s Wagner mercenary group in July is seeking asylum in Norway.
The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration and Andrey Medvedev’s lawyer confirmed on Monday that the 26-year-old was seeking protection in the Nordic country, which shares a 96-kilometer (122-mile) land border miles) with Russia.
Medvedev, an orphan who joined the Russian military and served in prison before joining the Wagner Corporation, said he left after witnessing Wagner deserters being killed.
In a filmed interview, released on Monday by Gulagu.net, the Russian human rights group that helped Medvedev escape, he said: “I’m afraid to die in pain.”
Norwegian police were notified of Medvedev’s crossing late Thursday after Russian border guards found tracks in the snow showing his journey.
At the time, Mr. Medvedev was identified only as a foreigner and was detained by Norwegian border guards, police said.
In SeptemberA video emerged of a man resembling the founder of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, appearing to offer contracts for prisoners of war in Ukraine.
In it, he is seen saying: “If you go to Ukraine and decide it is not for you, we will consider it desertion and will shoot you. Any questions, guys?”
In an interview with Gulagu, Medvedev said that he became disgruntled after Wagner repeatedly extended his contract without his consent and after witnessing Russian prisoners being killed and mistreated while in prison. sent to battle.
In November, he said, he watched a video showing a man from his unit being executed with a sledgehammer.
A Wagner Group statement made no mention of Medvedev’s battlefield claims, but Prigozhin said in a post on the messaging app Telegram that Medvedev worked in the group’s Norwegian unit and had “mistreated prisoners”.
The group of shadow mercenaries played a leading role in the invasion of Ukraine.
The recent Prigozhin fighter announced capture of the eastern town of Soledar before the Russian Ministry of Defense. Its claim, which Ukraine denies, is seen as an obvious attempt to expand Wagner’s influence within the Kremlin.
Before the war, Wagner’s soldiers for hire fought internationally, allegedly in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, and other countries.