Tuesday, andrey medvedev, a former russian paramilitary commander, was arrested by police in norway. medvedev is believed to be the first member of the wagner group, a group with close ties to the kremlin estimated to make up 10% of moscow’s forces in ukraine, to defect to the west. his lawyer, brynjulf risnes, said the move came after police concluded his situation was very dangerous.
Arrest took place in norway and followed a “strong disagreement” over medvedev’s living conditions at a safe house. according to vladimir osechkin, the founder of the exiled russian gulagu.net rights group, medvedev left after being informed his contract would be extended indefinitely and witnessing the group’s “terroristic methods”. medvedev claims to have witnessed war crimes, including “deserters being executed” by the wagner group’s internal security service.
Special norwegian police unit which interviewed medvedev is interested in his history in the group, as it is believed to be heavily involved in two of ukraine’s bloodiest recent battles – in soledar and bakhmut. after news of medvedev’s arrest broke, gulagu.net wrote he feared being “brutally murdered” if returned to russia. medvedev is being held under the immigration act and has been moved to a detention centre in the oslo area. neither the norwegian authorities nor medvedev’s lawyer have suggested he will be deported and vladimir osechkin wrote on facebook that they are not looking to whitewash medvedev, but he has seen the light and is willing to cooperate with norwegian and international authorities. medvedev is under increased security, but is still being treated as a witness.