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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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International

Mercenary flees Russia’s Wagner Group, seeks asylum in Norway

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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A Russian mercenary made a midnight escape into Norway last week. He said he was a commander in Ukraine, and had evidence of war crimes. Tuesday, the Norwegian police unit that investigates war crimes said they want to talk the mercenary.

26-year-old Andrei Medvedev is in the custody of Norwegian police. Gulagu.net, a Russian human rights organization based in France, said it started communicating with Medvedev in December and helped him escape Russia.

According to Gulagu.net, Medvedev said he joined the Wagner Group in July of 2022 on a four-month contract. The Wagner Group is a Russian private military company founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin. Wagner mercenaries are heavily involved in fighting in the Donbas Region of Ukraine.

Medvedev said he was a former soldier in the Russian army. He spent time in a Russian prison in 2017 and 2018. Medvedev said his current contract with Wagner was arbitrarily extended twice without his consent, and that he saw numerous human rights abuses and war crimes.

Wagner heavily recruited from Russian prisons to bolster its ranks in Ukraine. Medvedev said he was placed in charge of a Wagner division and supplied 30-40 troops a week.

Medvedev said Wagner had a policy of executing prisoners and captured deserters. Medvedev said Yevgeny Nuzhin, the Russian mercenary murdered with a sledgehammer in November of 2022, was a part of his unit.

Fearing a similar fate, Medvedev told the Russian Gulagu.net that he slipped away from his unit in Ukraine in November and spent two months in hiding before he crossed Norway’s Arctic border with Russia.

Medvedev said he used a white dressing gown as camouflage during his escape, and evaded a Russian border patrol unit firing shots at him.

Norway’s National Criminal Investigation Service said it had been in contact with Medvedev and wanted to interrogate him further. The service said Medvedev currently has the status of a “witness.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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A RUSSIAN MERCENARY MADE A MIDNIGHT ESCAPE INTO NORWAY LAST WEEK. HE SAID HE WAS A COMMANDER IN UKRAINE, AND HAD EVIDENCE OF WAR CRIMES.

ON TUESDAY, THE NORWEGIAN POLICE UNIT THAT INVESTIGATES WAR CRIMES SAID THEY WANT TO TALK THE MERC.

26-YEAR-OLD ANDREI MEDVEDEV IS IN THE CUSTODY OF NORWEGIAN POLICE. A RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION BASED IN FRANCE SAID IT STARTED COMMUNICATING WITH MEDVEDEV IN DECEMBER AND HELPED HIM ESCAPE RUSSIA.

MEDVEDEV SAID HE JOINED THE WAGNER GROUP IN JULY OF 2022 ON A FOUR MONTH CONTRACT. HE SAID HIS CONTRACT WAS ARBITRARILY EXTENDED TWICE WITHOUT HIS CONSENT, AND THAT HE SAW NUMEROUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AND WAR CRIMES.

WAGNER HEAVILY RECRUITED FROM RUSSIAN PRISONS TO BOLSTER ITS RANKS IN UKRAINE. MEDVEDEV SAID HE WAS PLACED IN CHARGE OF A WAGNER DIVISION AND SUPPLIED 30-40 TROOPS A WEEK.

MEDVEDEV SAID WAGNER HAD A POLICY OF EXECUTING PRISONERS AND CAPTURED DESERTERS. MEDVEDEV SAID YEVGENY NUZHIN, THE RUSSIAN MERCENARY MURDERED WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER IN NOVEMBER, WAS A PART OF HIS UNIT.

FEARING A SIMILAR FATE, MEDVEDEV TOLD THE RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP HE SLIPPED AWAY FROM HIS UNIT IN UKRAINE IN NOVEMBER AND SPENT TWO MONTHS IN HIDING BEFORE HE CROSSED NORWAY’S ARCTIC BORDER WITH RUSSIA.

MEDVEDEV SAID HE USED A WHITE DRESSING GOWN AS CAMOUFLAGE DURING HIS ESCAPE, AND EVADED A RUSSIAN BORDER PATROL UNIT FIRING SHOTS AT HIM.

NORWAY’S NATIONAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION SERVICE SAID IT HAD BEEN IN CONTACT WITH MEDVEDEV AND WANTED TO INTERROGATE HIM FURTHER. THE SERVICE SAID MEDVEDEV CURRENTLY HAS THE STATUS OF A WITNESS.

THE WAR IN UKRAINE CONTINUES TO HAVE INTERNATIONAL CONSEQUENCES. TO STAY UP TO DATE ON THOSE, AND TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WAR UP TO THIS POINT, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS DOT COME. WHERE WE DELIVER UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACTS.