March 30, 2023

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Wagner, a former mercenary for a Russian paramilitary group, testifies after defecting from the Ukrainian front



Video Length: 2 minutes

France TV
Written article

Andrei Medvedev, 26, says he illegally crossed the Norwegian border in mid-January to escape these private militias working with the Russian military. He describes the violence he witnessed.

“I read on a map that crossing there is very complicated. I crossed two obstacles on the Russian side, crossed a forest and came to the river.” According to his testimony, Andrei Medvedev was still three months ago a mercenary of the paramilitary group Wagner, a private militia that has been involved with the Russian army in Ukraine.

In an interview broadcast “at 8 p.m.” on Wednesday, February 1, he tells the France 2 “Complement d’Encouette” teams how he secretly crossed the Norwegian border between January 12 and 13, after fighting. Four months on Ukrainian soil. “The border guards followed me, they shot twice in my direction and I ran into the frozen river.” This 26-year-old explains.

Mercenaries shot in public

The only evidence that he belonged to Wagner: a photo with his registration number taken before he left. Today he says he is shocked by the militants’ methods and declares that he wants to testify about the abuses he witnessed. According to him, this private militia group, which is suspected of many acts of violence in Ukraine, was particularly brutal with refugees.

“One day they brought two mercenaries who refused to fight. And in front of everyone, in public, they shot them dead, and they said to us: “This is what will happen to those who dare to betray us.”

Andrei Medvedev

“Further Inquiry” in France 2

“What shocks me is the value they place on human life… their own soldiers. We are the cattle they deliberately send to slaughter.”, he continued. Andrei Medvedev has officially requested asylum in Norway. He is currently being treated as a witness and is being held in custody.

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