February 8, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

PMC fighter "Wagner" fled to Norway and requested political asylum

The ex-commander of the PMC “Wagner” is ready to testify against the former leadership, while in Norway, where he managed to get out by illegally crossing the border.

Yevgeny Prigozhin confirmed that Andrey Medvedev, who had fled to Norway, was a Wagner PMC fighter, in response to inquiry Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten:

“Yes, indeed, Andrei Medvedev worked in the Norwegian battalion of the Wagner PMC, which is called Nidhogg, since he had Norwegian citizenship. Should have been prosecuted for attempting to mistreat prisoners. So far, he has been on the wanted list. Be careful, he’s very dangerous.”

Norway’s largest media NRK reportsthat a Russian citizen illegally entered the country, was detained in one of the border settlements on the night of January 13, and also asked for asylum. Officially, the data of the Russian are not disclosed. The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) confirmed this information to the Associated Press:

“Due to security and privacy concerns, UDI is unable to provide further comment on this matter,” the agency said in an email. Medvedev’s case was handed over to the Norwegian immigration police, and the Russian was transferred to Oslo, where he was placed in a center for violators of migration laws. The Norwegian police declined to comment on the case.

According to Norwegian news agency NTB on Monday, Medvedev has been in hiding since he left the Wagner group on July 6 after a four-month contract ended.

Thanks to project Gulagu.net found out that Medvedev is the ex-commander of the 1st squad of the 4th platoon of the 7th assault detachment of the Wagner PMC. The escaped Russian claims he was the commander of Yevgeny Nuzhin, a former PMC fighter allegedly killed with a sledgehammer for surrendering.

In an interview with Gulagu.net, Medvedev toldhow he managed to climb over a barbed wire fence near the city of Nikel and cross the Pasvik River on thin ice to end up in Norway. According to him, he managed to escape from the chase with shots and dogs – he was pursued by Russian border guards.

On the night of January 13, Andrei Medvedev fled from Russia to Norway, asked for political asylum and testified against the founder of the PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and the organization itself. He stated that in a few months he witnessed many executions and extrajudicial killings that were used by PMCs against colleagues who refused to fight against Ukraine.

According to Medvedev’s lawyer Brynjulf ​​Risnes, Norway does not provide asylum to war criminals. Therefore, all testimony and data will be scrupulously reviewed and analyzed, his client must be prepared for the fact that he will be carefully checked.

Vladimir Osechkin, founder of the Gulagu.net platform, told on air “DW News Show” details the escape of ex-mercenary from PMC “Wagner” Andrey Medvedev to Norway and why he and his fellow human rights activists decided to help a fugitive mercenary, probably a participant in war crimes in Ukraine. He explained:

“We are not defending personalities, not specifically each person, we are defending the right. In the story with Andrei Medvedev, this is the right to life.”

According to the human rights activist, Medvedev and his friend (name and details withheld) turned to Gulagu.net after they left the Wagner PMC, and Medvedev returned the medallion with his personal number to Prigozhin’s security officer at the Wagner Center in St. Petersburg. Soon, Medvedev’s friend began receiving calls asking him to call on the ex-mercenary to return. Osechkin suggests:

“In any case, the goal was to help PMC Wagner get the fugitive. Then they would deal with him, obviously, with the help of a sledgehammer, which Prigozhin has been promoting so actively in the past few months.”

According to Osechkin, Andrey is an orphan, “who in his life saw only an orphanage, military service in the Russian army, a story with Wagner and a little prison in 2018.” However, on the assumption that Medvedev managed to become a war criminal, the founder of Gulagu.net emphasizes:

“As civilized people, we cannot call a person a war criminal without a decision of a court and a tribunal. From an everyday point of view, I understand that all the people who took up arms and ran into Ukraine shoot at Ukrainians simply because someone told them: so necessary … In my opinion, this, of course, is immoral and illegal in itself. But a war crime is a clear gradation of all this. As for those people who took part – it does not matter, in the PMC Wagner, in the PMC Redoubt, in the special detachment “Storm “, in some other unit that is part of the general grouping of troops of the Ministry of Defense – you cannot bring any charges against any of the soldiers if they did not commit crimes against civilians, against civilians and did not engage in looting within the framework of the war, and so Further”.

The founder of the Gulagu.net platform claims that it is a big misconception not to consider Wagner PMC mercenaries as combatants:

“We can figure out why the prisoners ended up in the war zone and why the Russian Federation, violating all laws, sent people who should be in colonies to the war zone. This is a separate issue, this is a violation of the law by the Russian authorities. But those people who joined the troops, took weapons and went to fight – these are combatants.”

The human rights activist says that Andrei Medvedev is currently in Norway, on the territory of a democratic state, his whereabouts are known to the investigators of the International Criminal Court. He believes that the former mercenary will play an important role in the future in the trial of Prigogine “and all the participants in this action at the top, who organized all this and created these inhuman mechanisms”:

“The entire public is literally dreaming on the Internet of some kind of tribunal. But how will this tribunal be held? We will not have witnesses. Some victims will gather. For any trial, for any tribunal, it is important that there are witnesses, eyewitnesses, participants in these events. Andrey Medvedev – one of them”.

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