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Ex-Wagner commander who fled to Norway has asylum request rejected

by Nate Ostiller February 7, 2024 9:10 AM 2 min read
Andrey Medvedev (R), who claimed to be a deserter from the Russian Wagner mercenary group, and his lawyer Brynjulf Risnes speak before the start of his trial on charges relating to a bar fight at the District Court in Oslo, Norway, on April 25, 2023. (Gorm Kallestad/NTB/AFP/Norway Out via Getty Images)
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Andrey Medvedev, the former Wagner Group commander who made headlines in January 2023 for escaping to Norway, had his asylum request rejected by Norwegian authorities, his lawyer told Reuters on Feb. 6.

Since Medvedev’s first arrival in Norway, he spoke out about various war crimes committed by the Wagner Group and said he was willing to testify against the late former Wagner Group commander, Yevgeny Prigozhin. Medvedev was also arrested by Norwegian police in February 2023 after a bar fight.

After stating that he feared for his life if he were to return to Russia, Medvedev sought asylum in Norway but also expressed concern that he might be extradited to Ukraine for his role in war crimes committed by Wagner Group forces.

Medvedev's lawyer told Reuters that his asylum request was rejected because the Norwegian government did not consider him to have been an official member of the Russian armed forces.

While Medvedev's asylum request was denied, Norway does not plan to deport him, his lawyer said.

"He risks being punished for desertion and being killed by people from Wagner," Medvedev's lawyer said, adding that he plans to appeal the case.  

It is unclear how the supposed threat against Medvedev's life in Russia has changed since September 2023, when he was arrested after he allegedly tried to illegally cross back into Russia from Norway, supposedly over fears he would be extradited to Ukraine.

Medvedev had previously told a local Norwegian newspaper that he had no plans to return to Russia.

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