Andrey Medvedev, a former commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group who recently fled to Norway, has been apprehended by police, he told the Guardian on Monday.
Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes said that the police decided to apprehend Medvedev on Sunday evening after a “strong disagreement” with the former Wagner soldier over living conditions at the safe house where he had been living since he arrived in Norway.
“He was staying on a voluntary basis at the safe house. If he refuses to be there, they have to either let him go or detain him,” Risnes said.
Risnes added that Medvedev was now being moved to the temporary detention centre.
“I will try to speak to the police and we will obviously find a solution,” the lawyer said.
Medvedev, in a brief phone call with the Guardian, confirmed he had been apprehended, and expressed worries that he would be deported to Russia.
Earlier on Monday, Norwegian police announced Medvedev was in custody.
“He is apprehended … and we are considering whether to seek a court’s decision for internment,” Line Isaksen of the Norwegian police told Reuters, declining to give further details.
Medvedev, 26, crossed the border into Norway on 13 January, where he applied for asylum.
Before fleeing, Medvedev said that in Ukraine he had witnessed the summary killing of Wagner fighters accused by their own commanders of disobeying orders, sometimes in pairs.
He said he was ready to tell everything he knew about the Wagner Group, its activities and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Medvedev is the first known soldier from the Wagner Group who fought in Ukraine to flee abroad.
The US said last Friday that Wagner, which has played a central part in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, would be designated a significant “transnational criminal organization”.