“I want to apologize again,” Medvedev told Reuters news agency. “While I don’t know how it will be received, I want to say I’m sorry for fighting in Ukraine.”
Asylum applied for
26-year-old Russian Medvedev crossed the Russian-Norwegian border in the middle of last month. After his arrival in Norway, where he applied for political asylum, he also gave an interview, in which he said that he witnessed war crimes. Watch that conversation here:
Medvedev tells Reuters he is speaking out so that “the perpetrators are punished” for their crimes in Ukraine. For example, he says he witnessed the shooting of two people who did not want to fight. The executions are said to have happened in front of newly recruited mercenaries.
It is unclear whether the notorious mercenary company Wagner Medvedev recruited from the prison like other inmates. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has confirmed that Medvedev fought for him and led a battalion of soldiers from Norway.
Prigozhin also accused the fugitive commander of prisoner abuse, something Medvedev’s lawyer denies. Medvedev now says about his participation in Wagner that it was ‘not a smart decision’.
Medvedev is allowed to stay in Norway for the time being. However, he is being questioned by the Norwegian police because he may have witnessed human rights violations by Wagner in Ukraine.
The Wagner Group is active with mercenaries in several countries, including Ukraine, Syria and countries in Africa. The group has close ties to the Moscow Kremlin. Numerous countries hire private individuals for security duties or for fighting enemies.
Mercenaries take many risks in exchange for money and operate discreetly or secretly as much as possible. They are also often hired for dangerous jobs that may involve high losses.