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‘I risked being shot or worse’ Former Wagner fighter seeks asylum in Norway after reportedly witnessing fellow mercenaries’ murders
A former Wagner Group fighter named Andrey Medvedev has crossed into Norway and requested political asylum, according to Vladimir Osechkin, founder of the human rights group Gulagu.net. Medvedev reportedly served as the commander of the unit that included Yevgeny Nuzhin, a Wagner mercenary who was murdered by the group with a sledgehammer in a video that surfaced online in November.
According to Medvedev himself, he entered Norway near the village of Nikel in Russia’s Murmansk region. After arriving in the country, he said, he asked a local woman to call the police, who then arrested him for crossing the border illegally. After Medvedev explained his situation, Norwegian authorities sent him to a migrant center in Oslo.
According to Osechkin, Medvedev left Russia on January 12 “amid the barking of watchdogs and gunfire at his back from FSB border guards.” The Norwegian news outlet NRK reported that a Russian citizen had illegally entered Norwegian territory before being arrested near the border early Friday morning, but did not disclose his name.
“I was being pursued by my former employers — the Wagner private military company, [businessman Yevgeny] Prigozhin and his crew, the Russian FSB. They got the Russian criminal investigation department involved. [I was] in danger. The danger [was that] I would be caught, that they would killed me, either by shooting me or worse, like they did with Nuzhin — execution by sledgehammer,” said Medvedev.
He also said that a war crimes investigator has already visited him in Oslo, and that he hopes his testimony will “play a key role” in the investigation against the Wagner Group.
According to Osechkin, Andrey Medvedev and an unnamed “comrade” reached out to Gulagu.net in December 2022 and asked for help avoiding the Wagner Group’s “signature execution” method (murder by sledgehammer). The organization then published a video message from Medvedev to Vladimir Putin and the heads of the Russian FSB and Prosecutor General in which he asked them to stop targeting him.
Gulagu.net reported that Medvedev signed a contract with the Wagner Group in early July 2022, and that he fled the front four months later. He claims that he served as a commander of one of the group’s units, and that he witnessed the murders of several of his fellow officers.
In an interview with the investigative outlet The Insider, Medvedev said that he knows of ten cases in which the Wagner Group killed its own fighters for refusing to take part in combat. He described one of the cases as follows:
They [the Wagner fighters] were wounded and went to a hospital near Pervomaiskyi, and from there, they tried to escape. They were caught at the border, at a checkpoint. An MED group came and shot them.
MED, Medvedev explained, is a branch of the Wagner Group’s security service that’s responsible for “neutralization”: “They take guys away and [kill them], either publicly or not publicly, like with Nuzhin.”
The former mercenary claimed that he was present for several of these murders, including two cases in which the men killed were not former prisoners.
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