The murky inner workings of the notorious Wagner Group may soon be revealed.
A former commander in the Russian mercenary outfit has sought asylum in Norway after defecting from his unit in Ukraine – and Western spies are licking their lips.
Andrey Medvedev, 26, claims to have been chased down by dogs and shot at by Russian soldiers during his daring escape over the heavily-guarded Russia-Norway border on Friday. After avoiding the glare of searchlights and scaling the barbed wire border fence, Medvedev says he knocked on the door of a local resident and asked them to phone the police.
Brynjulf Risnes, Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer, says Medvedev witnessed war crimes – including executions of deserters – and has brought evidence with him supporting his claims.
The Wagner Group, whose top brass have substantial clout in the Kremlin, is thought to comprise 10 per cent of Russia’s armed forces. Recruits are often recruited from prison and reportedly paid $10,000 a month, dwarfing the average wage in Russia of $826.
Medvedev may prove a goldmine for Western intelligence agencies. His testimony could shed light on Wagner’s ground operations and the workings of an organisation shrouded in secrecy.
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Medvedev remains in custody in the Oslo area, with his fighting over and his information war about to begin.
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