A couple of days ago, the Russian Andrej Medvedev fled to Norway. He is seeking asylum after an allegedly dramatic escape. Among other things, he is said to have been shot at by Russian border guards. Andrej Medvedev will be a former commander in the Wagner group. He says he is willing to testify against the Wagner group’s owner Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The Wagner group
The Wagner group is a private militia owned by Putin’s friend, the oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin. This group is known for committing war crimes in a number of places where they have been. The Wagner group has been a central actor in the war in Ukraine and is said to have committed war crimes such as murder of civilians, rape and torture. Ever since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the group has been active in Ukraine and central to the Russian-backed occupation of parts of Donbas in 2014.
The Wagner group has also participated in other conflicts around the world. They have been to Syria, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Libya, Madagascar, Venezuela, Mozambique and Mali. They have also committed war crimes in these places.
Wagner Group’s owner Yevgeny Prigozhin has said several times that Russia is too cautious in the war in Ukraine. He clearly wants a harder line.
What we know about Andrej Medvedev is that he has been in contact with gulagu.net several times. This is a website for human rights in Russia. The founder has lived in Paris since 2015. The website also mentions the flight of Andrei Medvedev.
It may seem on the website that Medvedev’s story is as he presents it, that he had a central role in the Wagner group. Nevertheless, the story raises a number of questions that the Norwegian police must clarify. Among other things, I find it strange that someone who signed a 5-month contract with the Wagner group this summer, didn’t actually show what he did. The war had been going on for several months when he signed the contract.
An investigation must be thorough
The investigation that the Norwegian police and intelligence must certainly carry out in this matter must be thorough. If it is indeed the case that he comes from the notorious Wagener group, he himself must be checked against possible war crimes and possibly punished for these. I am confident that it will be done. He is now in asylum reception in Oslo.
Of course, he has the right to have his application for asylum assessed. Until the treatment is finished, he is entitled to protection. A defector from Russia’s terror regime is unlikely to be safe anywhere.