A former commander in Russia’s Wagner personal army firm has fled to Norway and is searching for asylum after crossing that nation’s arctic border, in accordance with Norwegian police and a Russian activist.
Andrei Medvedev, in an interview with a Russian activist who helps individuals search asylum overseas, stated that he feared for his life after refusing to resume his service with Wagner.
Medvedev stated that after finishing his contract, and refusing to serve one other, he was afraid of being executed in the identical method of Yevgeny Nuzhin – a defector from Wagner who was killed on digital camera with a sledgehammer.
“We have been simply thrown to battle like cannon fodder,” he instructed Vladimir Osechkin, head of Gulagu.internet, a human rights advocacy group, in a dialog printed on YouTube.
A spokesperson for Norway’s Police Safety Service confirmed to CNN Monday that Medvedev was in Norway and searching for asylum.
“That is thus far an area police investigation,” Eirik Veum instructed CNN. “However the Safety Service, we’re knowledgeable, and comply with the investigation in fact.”
The mercenary group, headed by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, has emerged as a key participant in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – lately doing a lot of the combating within the small jap city of Soledar.
The group is commonly described as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s off-the-books troops. It has expanded its footprint globally since its creation in 2014, and has been accused of conflict crimes in Africa, Syria and Ukraine.
Medvedev stated that he crossed the border close to the Russian city of Nikel, in a telephone name from Norway with Osechkin, which was printed on-line.
The account aligns with that of the Finnmark Police District, who with out naming Medvedev, stated that it made an “undramatic” arrest of a person in Pasvik on the Norwegian facet of the border at 1.58 a.m. on Friday, January 13.
In his personal account, Medvedev stated that he crossed the border and approached the primary home he might discover.
“I instructed an area lady in damaged English about my state of affairs and requested for assist,” he instructed Osechkin within the telephone name. “Whereas I used to be on the highway, I used to be approached by the border drive and police. I used to be taken to a division, the place I used to be questioned and charged with unlawful crossing. I defined to them all the things and instructed them why I did it.”
“It was a miracle I managed to get right here,” he stated.
Medvedev had beforehand tried to cross into Finland twice and failed, Osechkin instructed CNN Monday.
The pinnacle of Wagner, Prigozhin, confirmed on Telegram Monday that Medvedev had served in his firm, and stated that he “ought to have been prosecuted for making an attempt to mistreat prisoners.”
In a December dialog with Osechkin, which was printed on YouTube, Medvedev denied that he had dedicated any crimes in Ukraine.
“I signed a contract with the group on the sixth of July 2022. I had been appointed commander of the primary squad of the 4th platoon of the seventh assault detachment,” he recalled. “When the prisoners began arriving, the state of affairs in Wagner actually modified. They stopped treating us like people. We have been simply thrown to battle like cannon fodder.”
“Each week they despatched extra prisoners to us. We misplaced a whole lot of males. Casualties have been excessive. We’d lose 15 to twenty males simply in our platoon. So far as I do know, a majority of them have been buried in LPR [Luhansk People’s Republic] and declared lacking. In case you are declared lacking, there is no such thing as a insurance coverage pay-out to the relations.”
He claimed that prisoners have been “shot useless for refusing to battle, or betrayal.”
“I’m afraid for my life,” he stated in December. “I didn’t commit any crime. I’ve refused to take part in maneuvers of Yevgeny Prigozhin.”
Osechkin instructed CNN Monday that he started serving to Medvedev after being approached by a good friend on the finish of November.
Prigozhin, he defined, had ordered all contracts to be robotically renewed beginning in November. When Medvedev refused to resume, he was crushed, Osechkin claimed.
“Andrei determined to go away Wagner,” Osechkin instructed CNN. “As soon as this occurred, he turned needed by safety companies of Wagner and Russian particular companies. There was a menace to his life.”
“He was afraid he will probably be executed in the identical method as Yevgeny Nuzhin – with a sledgehammer. We, as human-rights defenders, determined to assist him and defend his life.”
Osechkin stated that he helped Medvedev with groceries, garments, and a phone.
“We’re not attempting to justify his actions in relation to his participation in Wagner Group. But it surely needs to be understood that he determined to flee Wagner Group as terrorist group which kills each Russians and Ukrainians.”