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Andrei Medvedev: Wagner’s former commander flees to Norway




CNN

Former commander in Russia Wagner A private military company has fled to Norway and is seeking asylum after crossing that country’s Arctic border, according to Norwegian police and a Russian activist.

Andrei Medvedev, in an interview with a Russian activist who helps people seek asylum abroad, said he feared for his life after refusing to renew his service with Wagner.

Medvedev said that after fulfilling his contract and refusing to serve another, he feared being executed in the same way as Yevgeny Nuzhin, a Wagner defector who was killed on camera with a hammer.

“We were just thrown into fighting like cannon fodder,” he told Vladimir Osechkin, head of Gulagu.net, a human rights group, in a conversation posted on YouTube.

Morale in Putin’s private army plummets as Russia’s war in Ukraine falters

A spokesman for the Norwegian Police Security Service confirmed to CNN on Monday that Medvedev is in Norway seeking asylum.

“For now, this is an investigation by the local police,” Eirik Veum told CNN. “But the Security Service, we’re informed and we’re following the investigation, of course.”

The mercenary group, headed by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, emerged as a key player in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – has recently been involved in much of the fighting in the small eastern town solder.

Andrei Medvedev: Wagner’s former commander flees to Norway

Video shows firefight between Ukrainian and Russian forces

The group is often described as the unspoken troops of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It has expanded its footprint globally since its inception in 2014 and has been accused of war crimes in Africa, Syria and Ukraine.

Medvedev said he crossed the border near the Russian city of Nickel, in a telephone conversation from Norway with Osechkin that was posted online.

The account matched that of the Finnmark police district, which, without naming Medvedev, said it made a “non-dramatic” arrest of a man in Pasvik on the Norwegian side of the border at 1.58am on Friday 13 January.

In his own account, Medvedev said he crossed the border and approached the first house he found.

“I told a local woman in broken English about my situation and asked for help,” he told Osechkin in the phone call. “While on the road I was approached by Border Force and police. They took me to a department where they interrogated me and charged me with trespassing. I explained everything to them and told them why I did it.

“It was a miracle I made it this far,” he said.

Medvedev had previously tried twice to cross into Finland and failed, Osechkin told CNN on Monday.

Wagner’s boss, Prigozhin, confirmed on Telegram on Monday that Medvedev had served in his company and said he “should have been tried for attempting to mistreat prisoners.”

wagner group vpx

The retired general shares why he thinks the Russians are worried

In a December conversation with Osechkin that was posted on YouTube, Medvedev denied committing crimes in Ukraine.

“I signed a contract with the group on July 6, 2022. I was assigned as the commander of the first division of the 4th platoon of the 7th Assault Squad,” he recalled. “When the prisoners started arriving, the situation at Wagner really changed. They stopped treating us like people. We were just thrown into the fight like cannon fodder.”

“Every week more prisoners were sent to us. We lost a lot of men. The victims were many. We would have lost 15 to 20 men in our platoon alone. As far as I know, most of them are buried in the LPR [Luhansk People’s Republic] and reported missing. If you are declared missing, there is no insurance payment to relatives.’

He claimed that the prisoners were “shot for refusing to fight or for treason”.

“I fear for my life,” he said in December. “I have not committed any crime. I refused to participate in Yevgeny Prigozhin’s maneuvers.

Prigozhin

The leader of the notorious Russian group Wagner, who is believed to have confronted Putin about the war

Osechkin told CNN on Monday that he began helping Medvedev after being contacted by a friend in late November.

Prigogine, he explained, had ordered all contracts to be automatically renewed from November. When Medvedev refused to renew, he was beaten, Osechkin claimed.

“Andrei decided to leave Wagner,” Osechkin told CNN. “After that happened, he was wanted by Wagner’s security services and the Russian intelligence services. There was a threat to his life.”

“He was afraid that he would be executed in the same way as Yevgeny Nuzhin – with a hammer. We, as defenders of human rights, decided to help him and protect his life.

Osechkin said he helped Medvedev with groceries, clothes and a phone.

“We are not trying to justify his actions in relation to his involvement in the Wagner Group. But it must be understood that he decided to escape from the Wagner group as a terrorist organization that kills both Russians and Ukrainians.


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