Former member of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group Andrey Medvedev (right) at a court in Oslo, Norway, where he is seeking asylum, April 25, 2023.
Oslo – Norwegian court today he sent former member of the Russian mercenary Wagner (in the Russian transcription Vagnerov) group Andrey Medvedev to prison for 14 days for rioting and carrying an air rifle in public. But he was acquitted of the charge of assaulting police officers during the arrest, the AP agency reported. Medvedev, who is seeking asylum in Norway, went on trial for getting into a fight outside a bar in Oslo in February and police found an air rifle in his possession in March.
The 26-year-old Russian illegally crossed the border from Russia to Norway in January and applied for asylum in the Nordic country. He says he fears for his life if the Norwegian authorities send him back to his homeland. According to the AP, he said he agreed to participate in Wagner's group from July to November last year, but deserted after his contract was extended without his consent.
Since his escape, he has testified about his work in the ranks of Russian invasion units in Ukraine. For example, he told Reuters that he fought, among other things, in the area around the city of Bakhmut, which the Russians have been trying to capture for many months. He also stated, among other things, that he had witnessed mass murders in Ukraine, which has been resisting Russian military aggression for 14 months, and that he was willing to testify against the leadership of Wagner's group. At the same time, he denied that he committed the crimes himself.
He pleaded guilty in a Norwegian court this week to a fight outside an Oslo bar in February and resisting arrest. When police handcuffed him, he spat but denied kicking the officers, his lawyer Brynjulf Risnes said. Medvedev also admitted to having an air pistol with him when he went to a pub in mid-March.
He has pleaded not guilty to assaulting a police officer, the most serious charge he has faced. A trio of judges concluded that the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence to convict Medvedev at this point, the AFP agency wrote today. “It's good that he was acquitted of what was the most serious (accusation),” Risnes told Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet today.
Since his arrival in the Scandinavian country, Medvedev has repeatedly engaged the authorities. In January, the police briefly arrested him for “violating security regulations in his area”, according to his lawyer. At the beginning of March, she briefly detained him due to the lack of a residence permit in neighboring Sweden, where, according to his lawyer, he went to buy cigarettes, which are cheaper there than in Norway.
Over Medvedev and the truth of his statements, especially over his past and circumstances of the escape from Russia, many question marks remain. Many experts believe that the former mercenary could not have crossed the heavily guarded border without help.