Andrey Medvedev, ex-commander in Russia’s Wagner group, seeks asylum in Norway


Past The commander of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group seeks asylum in Norway.

Norwegian Immigration told The Associated Press on Monday that the man it identified as Andrey Medvedev had arrived in Norway, but declined to comment further, citing security and privacy reasons.

Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer also told AP that the person he defends is seeking asylum in the country. The attorney did not respond to a Washington Post request for comment Monday evening.

Police said last week that a man, identified only as a foreign national, was arrested early Friday morning after crossing illegally from Russia into Norway. The two countries share a 123-mile long border.

Reuters reports citing Russian human rights organization Gulagu Net that Medvedev fled the Wagner Group after witnessing the capture and execution of defectors.

The shadowy Wagner Group was founded by business magnate Yevgeny Prigozhin, who denied any involvement with the group until the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Prigogine is a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Wagner is accused of atrocities in countries including Libya and Syria. Central African Republic and Mali.

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According to US estimates, Wagner has deployed 50,000 fighters in Ukraine – 40,000 of them convicts drawn directly from Russian prisons with the offer of amnesty in exchange for six months of service. It is unclear how Medvedev joined the group.

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Earlier this month, a member of the Russian Human Rights Council said that Putin secretly pardoned dozens of prisoners before they were sent to Ukraine.

This is not the first time that a member of Wagner has left the group. Convicted murderer Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, who was released from prison last year to fight in Ukraine, gave interviews after joining Ukrainian forces.

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In November, a Telegram account linked to Wagner shared an unverified video showing him brutally murdered with a sledgehammer. Although it is not clear who and when the alleged execution was carried out, Nuzhin, adviser to the Ukrainian president, said that he voluntarily agreed to return to Russia. Medvedev told Gulagu Net, quoted by Reuters, that Nujin was a member of his unit.

NATO member Norway says it has given Kiev hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian and military aid since the Russian invasion began nearly a year ago.

Last year, Norwegian authorities arrested at least seven Russians for flying drones or taking pictures near sensitive areas. Among those arrested is the son of one of Putin’s close associates.

The war in Ukraine: what you need to know

Latest: Russia claimed on Friday to take control of the heavily contested salt mining town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine, where fighting has raged in recent days, but a Ukrainian military official said the battle was far from over.

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Russian gambling: Through extensive interviews with more than 30 senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials, The Post explored the road to war in Ukraine and the West’s concerted efforts to disrupt the Kremlin’s plans.

Pictures: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground since the start of the war—here’s some of their strongest work.

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