A Russian national illegally entered Norway and was detained near the locality of Skrøytnes in the Paskvidalen valley near the Russian border, NRK cites the Finnmark county police.
“The man was arrested by a Norwegian Armed Forces border patrol and the police. He applied for asylum in Norway,” Tarjei Sirma-Tellefsen, the Finnmark police chief, said in a statement.
NRK also cites various Russian media and Telegram channels that say the man might be a mercenary with PMC Wagner.
Vladimir Osechkin, the founder of Gulagu.net, an anti-torture human rights organisation, says the man in question is Andrey Medvedev who indeed was with PMC Wagner. Medvedev earlier acted as the commander of Yevgeny Nuzhin, a mercenary whose brutal execution for switching sides and joining Ukraine’s troops was shot on video and posted online by channels believed to be controlled by PMC Wagner in November.
Yevgeny Medvedev spoke with The Insider earlier, sharing stories about multiple occasions of such executions. For instance, he said that there is a separate department of the Wagner Group in charge of executions.
“They are in charge of what they call ‘zeroing out’, i.e., killing lads either privately or publicly, as in Nuzhin’s case,” Medvedev said.
Osechkin says Medvedev addressed Gulagu.net after he had spoken to The Insider, fearing revenge from Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of PMC Wagner.
“It is the first time since the start of the Ukraine War that a former commander with PMC Wagner, virtually a terrorist organisation, escapes Russia for Europe and shows that he is willing to testify against Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch and a terrorist involved in killing thousands of Russians and Ukrainians,” Osechkin wrote.
It is reported that Medvedev illegally crossed the border on 12 January; Barents Observer reported this the same day.
Gulagu.net published a video interview with Medvedev, recorded after he had left Russia. In the video, the man said he was held in a facility for immigrants in Oslo, and shared the details of how he crossed the border.
NRK asked the Norwegian PTS security agency to share more details. The agency replied, saying that they were not authorised to share any details on the biography of the Russian citizen, but added that they were “monitoring the case”.
On 13 November, a Telegram channel affiliated with PMC Wagner posted a video of Yevgeny Nuzhin’s execution. In the video, Nuzhin says that he switched to fighting for Ukraine in the war back in September and that he was kidnapped from Kyiv in November. The man regained consciousness in a basement, he was told that he “would be tried”, he adds. After that, the video shows Nuzhin’s head being smashed with a sledgehammer.
The video contains brutal graphic content. Please only click the link at your own discretion.