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Russia. Media: former branch commander in the Wagner Group escaped and wants to testify. He is counting on political asylum in Norway

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Andrei Medvedev, a former unit commander in a private military company linked to the Kremlin known as the Wagner Group, suspected of, among other things, war crimes in Ukraine, has applied for political asylum in Norway, Radio Svoboda reported on Sunday, based on reports from the Russian independent portal Gulagu.net.

“For the first time since the beginning of the war with Ukraine a former commander of one of the Wagner Group units fled the Russian Federation to Europe and agreed to testify, “said Vladimir Osichkin, founder of Gulagu.net, quoted by the radio.

According to his account, in early July 2022, Andrei Medvedev, a resident of the Tomsk region, signed a four-month contract with the Wagner Group. He was sent to Salsk, and from there to the Luhansk region, where he was appointed commander of the mercenary assault detachment.

Medvedev took part in the Battle of Bakhmut, he was the direct commander of the former prisoner Yevgeny Nuzhin, whose head was allegedly crushed by the Wagnerians with a sledgehammer after returning from Ukrainian captivity.

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“I fear for my life and health”

In mid-December, a video circulated on social networks in which a man who introduced himself as a deserter, Andrei Medvedev, talked about the intimidation of Wagner Group militants. He demanded that the Federal Security Service (FSB) conduct an inspection of the mercenaries and their boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Yevgeny Prigozhin (right). Shot from the recordingReuters

– Wagner’s security services began to persecute me, putting me on the list of wanted by the FSB and the Ministry of the Interior. I am afraid for my life and health, Medvedev said at the time.

Medvedev was supposed to cross the Russian border from Norway near the village of Nikel in the Murmansk region. According to his account, despite the pursuit of border guards with dogs shooting at him, he managed to climb the high border fence and run across the freezing lake, and then reach the border settlement, where he surrendered to the police. Currently, Osichkin says, Medvedev is in an asylum center in Oslo, where he is seeking political asylum and intends to testify against Prigozhin, who is called “Putin’s cook” because he also runs a catering company that serves the Kremlin.

Main photo source: IGOR RUSSAK / Reuters / Forum

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