Olena Zelenska puts Ukraine in the spotlight at Davos

A former commander of Russia’s Wagner private military company has fled to Norway and is seeking asylum after crossing the country’s Arctic border, according to Norwegian police and a Russian activist.

Andrei Medvedev said in an interview with a Russian activist who helps people seek asylum abroad that he feared for his life after refusing to renew his services with Wagner.

Medvedev said he feared being executed in the same way as Yevgeny Nuzhin — a Wagner defector killed with a sledgehammer on camera — after completing his contract and refusing to serve others.

“We were just forced to fight like cannon fodder,” he told Vladimir Osechkin, director of human rights advocacy group Gulagu.net, in a conversation posted on YouTube.

A spokesman for the Norwegian Police Security Service confirmed to CNN on Monday that Medvedev was seeking asylum in Norway.

“So far, this is an investigation by the local police,” Eirik Veum told CNN. “But the Security Service, we’re told, will of course follow up with the investigation.”

Some background: Wagner, led by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, has emerged as a key figure in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – most recently in the eastern town of Soledar, where he has been involved in much of the fighting.

The mercenary group is often described as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s covert army. Since its founding in 2014, it has expanded its footprint globally and has been accused of war crimes in Africa, Syria and Ukraine.

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