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A former commander within the Russian mercenary Wagner Group is searching for asylum in Norway, authorities there mentioned.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration advised the Related Press on Monday that the person, whom it recognized as Andrey Medvedev, had arrived in Norway however declined to remark additional, citing safety and privateness causes.

Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer additionally advised the AP that his consumer is searching for asylum within the nation. The lawyer didn’t reply to a Washington Submit request for remark Monday evening.

Final week, police mentioned a person, whom they recognized solely as a overseas nationwide, was arrested after illegally crossing into Norway from Russia early Friday. The 2 international locations share a 123-mile-long border.

Reuters, citing the Russian human rights group Gulagu Web, reported that Medvedev fled the Wagner Group after witnessing its seize and execution of members who abandoned the group.

The shadowy Wagner Group was based by enterprise govt Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who, till Russia launched the Ukraine battle, had denied any connection to the group. Prigozhin is an in depth affiliate of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s. Wagner has been accused of finishing up atrocities in international locations together with Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic and Mali.

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In response to U.S. assessments, Wagner has deployed 50,000 fighters in Ukraine — 40,000 of them convicts recruited instantly from Russian prisons with the provide of a pardon in change for six months’ service. It’s unclear how Medvedev joined the group.

Utilizing conscripts and jail inmates, Russia doubles its forces in Ukraine

Earlier this month, a member of Russia’s Human Rights Council mentioned Putin had secretly pardoned dozens of convicts earlier than they had been deployed to Ukraine.

This isn’t the primary report of a Wagner member fleeing the group. Final 12 months, Yevgeny Nuzhin, a 55-year-old homicide convict who was launched from jail to combat in Ukraine, gave interviews after defecting to Ukrainian forces.

In November, nevertheless, an unverified video was shared on a Wagner-linked Telegram account showing to point out his brutal killing with a sledgehammer. It was not clear who carried out the purported execution or when, however a Ukrainian presidential adviser was quoted as saying that Nuzhin had agreed to return to Russia voluntarily. In response to Medvedev’s statements to Gulagu Web, quoted by Reuters, Nuzhin had been a member of his unit.

Norway, a NATO member, says it has supplied lots of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} of humanitarian and navy help to Kyiv because the Russian invasion was launched nearly a 12 months in the past.

Final 12 months, Norwegian authorities arrested a minimum of seven Russians for flying drones or taking footage close to delicate areas. Amongst these arrested was a son of an in depth affiliate of Putin’s.

Battle in Ukraine: What it’s good to know

The most recent: Russia claimed Friday to have seized management of Soledar, a closely contested salt-mining city in jap Ukraine the place preventing has raged in latest days, however a Ukrainian navy official maintained that the battle was not but over.

Russia’s Gamble: The Submit examined the street to battle in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, by means of in depth interviews with greater than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officers.

Photographs: Washington Submit photographers have been on the bottom from the start of the battle — right here’s a few of their strongest work.

How one can assist: Listed here are methods these within the U.S. can help the Ukrainian individuals in addition to what individuals all over the world have been donating.

Learn our full protection of the Russia-Ukraine battle. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and unique video.

Understanding the Russia-Ukraine battle

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