The former commander of Russia’s notorious mercenary group Wagner, now seeking asylum in Norway, said in an interview with the Moscow Times on Tuesday that he witnessed the summary execution of a fellow soldier.
Andrei Medvedev, 26, said he witnessed the two executions at the Wagner Center where the group was training inmates recruited from Russian prisons.
“There was an incident where they brought in two prisoners who refused to fight and shot them in front of others for refusing to follow orders,” Medvedev said from Norway.
“There were many such cases.”
Medvedev fled to a Scandinavian country earlier this month after fighting for four months in eastern Ukraine as a member of Wagner, run by former chef Evgeny Prigozhin, who is believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After deserting a group of mercenaries in November, Medvedev crossed the Norwegian border on foot and appears to have narrowly escaped Russian border guards.
Medvedev said that Ukrainian Wagner fighters were “treated like cattle” by military leaders and “sent to the front lines like cannon fodder.”
“I totally regret being there.”
However, Medvedev has refused to pinpoint the crimes committed by Wagner’s soldiers, who played a key role in the fighting around the eastern Ukraine city of Bakhmut, and whether he, as Wagner’s commander, gave them criminal orders. bottom.
Medvedev served as leader of the 1st Squadron of the 4th Platoon of Wagner’s 7th Assault Division. fought Near Bahmut, according to Russian human rights NGO Gulagu.net.
Wagner is I believed Deploy as many as 50,000 fighters to Ukraine, including thousands of Russian prisoners promised early release from prison in exchange for signing six-month contracts to fight in Ukraine.
Exact figures are not available, but Wagner reportedly suffered heavy casualties in a special “Wagner Cemetery” setting Russia since the outbreak of war.
Wagner fighter plane defendant By Ukraine killing civilians near Kyiv.
Raised in an orphanage in the Tomsk region of Siberia, many After being convicted of robbery, he joined a mercenary group as a volunteer in July.
But he said he decided to desert after “saw what was going on” in Ukraine.
One of the 15 men apparently under Medvedev’s command was the convicted murderer Evgeny Nudin. killed Another Wagner fighter executed with a sledgehammer was captured on video and circulated on social media in November.
Nudin surrendered to Ukrainian forces last year shortly after being deployed to Ukraine.
Wagner’s head Prigogine Said At the time, Nujin deserved a “dog’s death,” but later denied the group had any part in his murder.
When asked about Nudin’s execution, Medvedev said: “It was as expected. Wagner has no other choice.”
Medvedev’s lawyer Said Earlier this month, AFP said it was “willing to speak to those investigating war crimes about its experiences with the Wagner Group.”
Medvedev said he was too young to communicate directly with Prigogine, but said that when he met Prigogine at Wagner’s training center, he gave “the impression of a sick person”.
“No sane person would do what he does,” Medvedev added.
After crossing the border into Norway and being questioned by local security officials, Medvedev releasepending a decision on his application for political asylum.
“I want to start a peaceful life,” Medvedev told the Moscow Times.
While Wagner Confirmed Earlier this month, the Moscow Times was unable to independently confirm Medvedev’s account that Medvedev was one of their mercenary fighters.