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Former Wagner group commander apologises for fighting in Ukraine – and now wants to help bring perpetrators to justice

A former commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group who fled to Norway has said he is sorry for fighting in Ukraine and now wants to help make sure the perpetrators are punished. 

Andrei Medvedev fled Russia on 13 January by climbing through barbed-wire fences, evading border patrol and eventually crossing the Russian-Norwegian border. 

The 26-year-old joined Wagner in July 2022 on a four-month contract but is now seeking asylum in Norway.

In an interview with Reuters, he described seeing the killing and treatment of Russian prisoners taken to Ukraine to fight for the group during his time there. 

“Many consider me to be a scoundrel, a criminal, a
murderer,” Mr Medvedev said.

“First of all,
repeatedly, and again, I would like to apologise, and although I
don’t know how it would be received, I want to say I’m sorry. 

“I want to explain that I am not that person. Yes, I served
in Wagner. There are some moments (in my story) that people
don’t like, that I joined them at all, but nobody is born

The Wagner Group has been recruiting convicts to fight in Ukraine, where it is heavily involved in Russia’s offensive.

Ukraine claims its fighters have died in their thousands.

Mr Medvedev added he now wanted to speak out about his experiences
in the war so “the perpetrators are punished” for their crimes
in Ukraine.

“I have decided to stand against it publicly, to help to
ensure that perpetrators are punished in certain cases, and I
will try to make my contribution, at least a small bit,” he said. 

Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian
President Vladimir Putin, has previously said Mr Medvedev had
worked in a Norwegian unit of Wagner and had “mistreated

“Be careful, he’s very dangerous,” Mr Prigozhin said. 

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