January 31, 2023

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The gray areas surrounding Andriy Medvedev

OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP Spectators in military camouflage stand at the entrance to the ‘BMC Wagner Center’ associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin of the Wagner Private Military Group (BMC) during the official opening of the office block on National Unity Day in St Petersburg. On November 4, 2022. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP)

OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP

“Wagner deserter”: the gray areas around Andrei Medvedev (photo of Wagner’s headquarters in St. Petersburg, Russia)

War in Ukraine – Some mystery lingers around ex-mercenary Andriy Medvedev By Wagner, who abandoned the war and took refuge in Norway. After fleeing the epic situation, the soldier is today a valuable witness who sheds light on the brutality from within. Russian paramilitary group in Ukraine And to feed the case against Moscow.

In a video released this weekend by the NGO Gulagu.net, the square-faced Russian with close-cropped hair claims to have fought in Ukraine as the leader of a ten-man unit. of men within Wagner. The Sulfur Group, which he claims left him when his four-month contract was extended against his will in November. He spent two months in hiding in Russia before fleeing the country.

He was summarily arrested upon arrival In Norway Where he applied for asylum, Andrey Medvedev was or should be heard by the Crime Branch (Grybos) officers participating in the international investigation into immigration and war crimes in Ukraine. “He himself said that he was a member of the Wagner group and that Kripos was interested in getting more information about this period.”Police said on Tuesday.

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His client, his Norwegian lawyer Brynjulf ​​Risnes told AFP Wagner is willing to talk about his experience on the team to people investigating war crimes. But gray areas persist around this role.

Wagner Medvedev Norway and ” Very dangerous »

Begins with his arrival in Norwegian territory. Under bullets and with Russian guards with dogs at his heels, Andrei Medvedev secretly crossed the Pasvik River last week, a now-frozen river that marks the Russian-Norwegian border in the far north. However, many experts believe that the heavily guarded border cannot be crossed without the help of ex-mercenaries.

Later, his career leaves some questions, especially as the Wagner group tries to discredit him in Telegram, as pointed out. the world. The group responded to questions from the Norwegian press PinpostonAndrey Medvedev assures that he is Norwegian, and “ Very dangerous”. As a reminder, Wagner was heavily recruited In Russian prisons to fight in Ukraine.

“Actually, Andrei Medvedev fought in Wagner’s Norwegian battalion Nidok, because he is Norwegian, but he should have been prosecuted for trying to mistreat prisoners. Detailed documents are available from Wagner’s security department, which were handed over to the Russian authorities. He was on the wanted list until now. Be careful, this Very dangerous.”Wagner confirmed.

However, according to Andrei Medvedev’s lawyer, who Responded to these commentsSon is a customer “As far as I know, absolutely Norwegian nationality or no previous connection with Norway”.

Compromises USB keys

Finally, there is the question of what the fugitive can disclose. The Norwegian Police’s Criminal Division (Kribos), which is involved in an international investigation into war crimes in Ukraine, began questioning him last Saturday. According to Brynjulf ​​Risnes, he is cooperative.

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“He was an interesting figure, mainly in the Wagner group (…), as a first-hand witness, including the post-war trials on the atrocities in Ukraine.”says Tor Bukvol, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Defense Research. “He might be in Bagmouth.”Russian troops have been trying to capture a city in eastern Ukraine for months, “And he can say things from within that no one else can say”he told AFP.

In an interview with the website The Insider In December, Andrei Medvedev said he knew Wagner had executed ten mercenaries who refused to return to the war. He also mentions that he has a video of him killing two of them and calls for him to make it public if anything bad happens to him. He would have had under his command a man accused of surrendering to Ukrainian forces, Yevkhuni Nauzhin, who was allegedly killed by sledgehammers upon his return to Russian ranks.

AFP could not independently confirm the veracity of his comments.

An informant” At the lowest level of the system.

Andrey Medvedev claims he had several USB keys with him when he fled to Norway. “What he says is interesting because we don’t have many direct testimonies from Wagner’s players, but two nuances are in order”Tor encrypts Bukkvoll.

“First, Wagner’s brutality has long been notorious, even before the conflict in Ukraine, as was the killing of prisoners in Syria.”The analyst notes. “And Medvedev seems to have been at a very low level of the organization, so it’s unlikely he could have revealed anything about what was going on at the highest levels.”.

Wagner’s exact relationship with the Russian military, established in 2014, remains in question, with many observers saying we see tensions between the two forces fueled by political ambitions due to the head of the paramilitary group, businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. .

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In any case, Andriy Medvedev’s lawyer has promised that he has taken with him evidence of war crimes committed in Ukraine and intends to share this information with the teams investigating these allegations.

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