A former commander of the mercenary Wagner Group fled Ukraine for Norway after witnessing “Russia’s killing and ill-treatment of new soldiers brought to the front”. Andrei Medvedev also said in a recording published on Gulagu.net that he fears for his life and intends to apply for asylum. – I’m afraid of dying in agony. What are they doing? They kill. I’m a talking head to them,” said the Wagnerian.
On Sunday, Radio Svoboda, based on reports from the Russian independent portal Gulagu.net, reported that Andrei Medvedev, a former unit commander in a private military company associated with the Kremlin, known as the Wagner Group, applied for political asylum in Norway.
The Gulagu.net website published a video in which the former Wagnerian talks about his service in the private army and how he escaped from it. – On July 6, 2022, I signed a contract with this company (the Wagner Group) and left for Ukraine. I was assigned to the 7th Assault Squadron of the 4th platoon, where I became the commander of the 1st squadron – he said.
According to him, “in August, they (the group’s leadership – editor’s note) began to bring prisoners from various prisons of the Russian Federation for military service.” – In general, their attitude (to us) changed when the prisoners arrived. They no longer considered us human, he said.
“Killing Prisoners”, “Stupid Orders” and “Deterrent”
Medvedev added that “the company unilaterally changed his contract.” “Without asking me, they extended it to six months and then to eight. After that, I left without permission because I didn’t like what was going on there. Namely, that after the arrival of these prisoners, strange things happened: killings of prisoners (recruited by the Convict Group – ed.) by our own people, by Wagner’s (Group) security officers, stupid orders issued by our commanders – he reported.
– I know for sure about three cases where injured prisoners who tried to escape from hospitals were shot. In addition, 10 people were shot at the training ground in front of recruited prisoners who had just arrived. This was done as a deterrent (saying) “They are traitors, they refuse (to fight). Look what happens to them,” he continued.
“I’m afraid of dying in agony.” The Wagnerite wants asylum
According to the man’s account, his “employers” were after him. – The Wagner Group, (Evgeny) Prigozhin and his gang, Russian FSB, investigative department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. I was at risk of being caught, killed, shot or worse.
– I’m afraid of dying in agony. What are they doing? They kill. I’m a talking head to them, what’s it all for? I think it’s a miracle that I managed to escape, that I managed to hide there for a few months and come here. Don’t you think it’s a miracle? I think so,’ he added.
In the recording, Medvedev also said that he “plans to apply for political asylum with the Norwegian authorities to obtain refugee status.”
The police want to question the Russian. “He is a witness”
According to Medvedev, he crossed the snow-covered border, forcing his way through barbed-wire fences and evading border patrol dogs. Then he heard the gunshots of the guards and began to run through the forest and across the thin frozen ice. The local Norwegian police reported that the foreigner was arrested on the night of Thursday to Friday after illegally crossing the Russian-Norwegian border and is seeking asylum.
His Norwegian lawyer Brynjulf Risnes told Reuters that the Russian was now in the “Oslo area”, but gave no details. “For him, it is important that the immigration authorities clarify his status as soon as possible,” he said.
Kripos, Norway’s national criminal police responsible for investigating war crimes, said on Tuesday it wanted to question Medvedev. “Sam explained that he was part of the Wagner Group and it is interesting for Kripos to have information about this time frame,” the statement said. It was added that “Medvedev has the status of a witness.”
Risnes indicated that the Wagnerian had not yet spoken to the Norwegian police and no agreement had been reached on questioning. The lawyer refused to give the exact information where Medvedev fought in Ukraine. “He says he was involved in a battle which he claims was a clear combat situation and that he had no contact with civilians,” Risnes said.
Prigozhin comments on Medvedev’s words
Meanwhile, the founder of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, argued that Medvedev worked in Wagner’s Norwegian branch and “mistreated prisoners.” “He is very dangerous,” said a businessman nicknamed “Putin’s cook” because of his catering business serving the Kremlin.
In the statement, he did not address accusations of killings or mistreatment of prisoners by the Wagnerians.
Main photo source: Reuters