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Andrey Medvedev, ex-commander of the Russian group Wagner, seeks asylum in Norway

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An old The commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner is seeking asylum in Norway, authorities have announced.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration told the Associated Press Monday that the man, identified as Andrey Medvedev, had arrived in Norway but declined to comment further, citing security and privacy concerns.

Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer also told the AP that his client is seeking asylum in the country. The attorney did not respond to a Washington Post request for comment Monday evening.

Last week, police said an individual, identified only as a foreign national, has been arrested after entering Norway illegally from Russia early on Friday. The two countries share a 123 mile long border.

Reuters, citing the Russian human rights organization Fillet Gulagu, reported that Medvedev fled the Wagner Group after witnessing its capture and the execution of members who deserted the group.

The Shadowy Wagner Group was founded by entrepreneur Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who until Russia started the Ukrainian War had refused any connection to the group. Prigozhin is a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Wagner has been accused of committing atrocities in countries like Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic and Mali.

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According to US estimates, Wagner deployed 50,000 fighters to Ukraine — 40,000 of them condemned recruited directly from Russian prisons with the offer of a pardon in exchange for six months of service. It is unclear how Medvedev joined the group.

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Earlier this month, a member of the Russian Human Rights Council said Putin had secretly pardoned dozens of convicts prior to their deployment to Ukraine.

This isn’t the first report of a Wagner member fleeing the group. Last year, Yevgeny Nuzhin, a 55-year-old murder convict who was released from prison to fight in Ukraine, gave interviews after defecting to Ukrainian forces.

In November, however, an unverified video was shared on a Telegram account linked to Wagner appearing to show his brutal murder with a hammer. It is not known who carried out the alleged execution or when, but a Ukrainian presidential adviser was quoted as saying that Nuzhin had agreed to return to Russia voluntarily. According to Medvedev’s statements to Gulagu Net, cited by Reuters, Nuzhin had been a member of his unit.

Norway, a NATO member, claims to have provided hundreds of millions of dollars humanitarian and military support to Kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion almost a year ago.

Last year the Norwegian authorities arrested at least seven Russians to fly drones or take photos near sensitive areas. Among those arrested was the son of a close Putin aide.

War in Ukraine: what you need to know

The last: Russia claimed on Friday it had taken control of Soledar, a hotly contested mining town in eastern Ukraine where fighting has raged in recent days, but a Ukrainian military official argued the battle was not yet over. completed.

Russia’s bet: La Poste has examined road to war in Ukraineand Western efforts to unite to thwart Kremlin plans, through in-depth interviews with more than three dozen senior US, Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

Pictures: Washington Post photographers have been in the field since the war began — here are some of their most powerful works.

How you can help: Here’s how those in the United States can support the Ukrainian people as good as what people around the world have given.

Read our full coverage of the Russia–Ukraine War. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

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