Norwegian police have arrested a former commander of the Wagner mercenary group on suspicion of trying to illegally cross the border into Russia after applying for asylum in Norway earlier this year, the detainee’s lawyer said today, quoted by Reuters.
Former Wagner commander Andrei Medvedev, who fled Russia in January across its Arctic border with Norway, said border guards fired at him as he fled. He also revealed details of his participation in the fighting in Ukraine as a member of the mercenary group.
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Norwegian police said in a statement last night that a young man in his 20s had been detained for trying to illegally cross the border into Russia, but did not name him. A police officer from the local police in Finnmark also declined to name the detainee.
The crossing of Norway’s border with Russia is allowed only through the crossing points, according to Reuters.
Medvedev’s lawyer told Reuters that his arrest was the result of a misunderstanding.
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“He was there to see if he could find where he crossed the border (to Norway in January). He was stopped while he was riding in a taxi. He was nowhere near the border. His intentions were not at all entered to cross the border (with Russia),” the lawyer said.
When he arrived in Norway, Medvedev said he wanted asylum because he feared for his life after witnessing the killing and torture of prisoners of war in Ukraine, Reuters noted. His escape became headline news in the world’s media.
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But in May, Medvedev said in a YouTube video that he would like to return to Russia despite fearing for his life, describing himself as “a pawn in a big game” in which he no longer wants to participate.
His lawyer said the former mercenary had the right to return to Russia if he wanted, but that “big changes have to happen” for him to return safely.
Source: BTA, Alexey Margoevski