Norwegian police have detained a former commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group who not too long ago fled to Norway, however his lawyer dismissed solutions that he could be deported to Russia.
A Russian prisoners’ rights group, Gulagu.internet, revealed a recording of a telephone interview on Monday with Andrei Medvedev through which he urged Norway to let him keep and testify in opposition to the non-public army group, which has been combating Ukrainian forces in among the most brutal battles of the battle in Ukraine.
Medvedev mentioned he had been detained and handcuffed on Sunday at a lodge the place he was staying and brought to a detention centre. Gulagu.internet mentioned Medvedev had been informed he confronted deportation.
Requested in regards to the declare, a Norwegian police spokesperson mentioned: “No, this isn’t right,” with out elaborating.
Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes, put the danger of his being deported at “zero,” including he had been detained resulting from “disagreement” about measures taken to make sure his security.
“He’s below very strict safety measures and we disagree about the best way they’re utilized. These have brought on frictions,” Risnes informed Reuters.
Fears for his life
Medvedev fled by crossing the Russian-Norwegian border and has mentioned he’s in worry for his life after witnessing the killing and mistreatment of Russian prisoners delivered to the entrance strains in Ukraine to battle for Wagner.
“My objective in coming right here was firstly in fact to avoid wasting my life and secondly to inform the reality to the individuals and the world,” he mentioned within the telephone interview with Gulagu.internet, recorded on Monday.
He mentioned he additionally wished to “punish” Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, a detailed ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, for the deaths of people that died on his orders in Ukraine.
‘Desires to reside and testify’
The rights group mentioned Medvedev would face “brutal homicide and dying” for talking out in opposition to Wagner if he was returned to Russia.
“We don’t whitewash Medvedev. He has carried out many unhealthy issues in his life,” the rights group mentioned.
“However he has seen the sunshine, he has realized this, he’s prepared and keen to co-operate with the world, with the worldwide investigation and with the authorities of Norway. He desires to reside and testify” in opposition to Prigozhin.
Medvedev is an orphan who joined the Russian military and served time in jail earlier than becoming a member of Wagner final July on a four-month contract that he mentioned the group had then repeatedly prolonged with out his consent.
He has mentioned he crossed the snowy border into Norway from Russia within the Arctic Circle after climbing via barbed-wire fences and evading a border patrol with canines.