Ex-Wagner mercenary Andrey Medvedev: 'I apologise to the Ukrainian people'

FRANCE 24 spoke to Andrey Medvedev, a deserter of Russia's Wagner Group, almost two months after he fled to Norway. The 26-year-old Russian ex-mercenary entered the country illegally on January 13 in a bid to seek asylum there. Speaking from Oslo, Medvedev explained that he "witnessed many things" while fighting with the Wagner Group in Ukraine. However, he said he was unable to talk in detail about them and was keeping this information for Norwegian investigators. Medvedev also apologised to the Ukrainian people.

Medvedev, who fought for the paramilitary Wagner Group in Ukraine between July and November 2022, fled to Norway after deserting. He told FRANCE 24 he did so because of the "methods" and "orders" of Wagner's commanding officers. According to the former mercenary, the men were sent into battle as "cannon fodder".

He said he took the risk of fleeing despite knowing that Wagner deserters suffered "very, very severe consequences", such as the execution of one of them with a sledgehammer, a horrific scene filmed and made public by Wagner.

The former mercenary apologised to the Ukrainian people "for being part of this". Yet he insisted on the fact that one should not confuse the people of Russia, who are victims of pro-war "propaganda", with the Russian leaders, who decided this war.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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