Wagner militant's asylum application in Norway under review - report

After involvement in the Wagner mercenary group's violent war efforts, one defector fled and began seeking asylum in Norway.

 Wagner private military group centre opens in St Petersburg (photo credit: REUTERS)
Wagner private military group centre opens in St Petersburg
(photo credit: REUTERS)

A new report from the human rights website Gulagu stated that Andrei Medvedev, a former senior commander in the Wagner mercenary group, fled to Norway and is now seeking asylum in the Scandinavian nation.

This comes following continued reports of the group’s violent actions in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the war crimes committed by the group and its leadership on the battlefield, under Yevgeny Prigozhin.

According to this report, Medvedev fled Russian territory and was pursued by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). Gulagu stated that Medvedev contacted local Scandinavian law enforcement authorities to begin the asylum application process.

His application is reportedly already under review.

Wagner defector plans to testify

“For the first time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, a commander from the terrorist organization has escaped from Russia, and agreed to testify and expose the oligarch Prigozhin. He was involved in the murder of thousands of Russians and Ukrainians.”

Andrei Medvedev, former Wagner Group senior commander

It was also reported that Medvedev planned to testify against Prigozhin, stating that "For the first time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, a commander from the terrorist organization has escaped from Russia, and agreed to testify and expose the oligarch Prigozhin. He was involved in the murder of thousands of Russians and Ukrainians."

Norwegian flags flutter at Karl Johans street in Oslo, Norway May 31, 2017. (credit: REUTERS)Norwegian flags flutter at Karl Johans street in Oslo, Norway May 31, 2017. (credit: REUTERS)

Reuters reported earlier this month that Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Putin and the head of the Wagner Group is planning to take over salt and gypsum mines near the city of Akhmat. The report also says the militant leader is doing so to help continue financing Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Prigozhin’s efforts with the Wagner group have been a crucial part of Russian offensive efforts in eastern Ukraine. This militant group has been accused by the US as well as other nations of exploiting natural resources in African countries such as Mali and Sudan in order to further finance war efforts. Russia has since denied those claims, calling them “anti-Russian outrage.”

The website also reported that the Ukrainian military managed to eliminate hundreds of pro-Russian militants associated with the Wagner group in a large-scale attack on New Year’s Eve in Mykivka, a suburb of the occupied city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Though the Ukrainian army did not outwardly take responsibility for the attack, they did announce that 400 Russian soldiers were killed in an incident in Mykivka.

Russian authorities reported casualties in the attack, though did not clarify specific figures as presented in Ukrainian media. According to officials, at least 63 Russian troops were killed following a Ukrainian air strike in Donetsk in one of the single deadliest attacks against Russian forces in Ukraine since the start of the war.