Andrey Medvedev, a former commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner who recently fled to Norway, has been detained by police, he told The Guardian on Monday.
Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes, said police decided to arrest Medvedev on Sunday night after a “strong disagreement” with the former Wagner soldier over living conditions at the safe house where he had lived since arriving in Norway.
“He stayed in the hiding place on a voluntary basis. If he refuses to be there, they should let him go or hold him,” Risnes said.
Risnes added that Medvedev is now being transferred to the temporary detention center.
“I will try to talk to the police and we will of course find a solution,” said the lawyer.
Medvedev confirmed in a brief phone call to the Guardian that he had been detained and expressed concern that he would be deported to Russia.
Earlier on Monday, Norwegian police announced that Medvedev is in custody.
“He has been detained… and we are considering whether to seek a court decision for internment,” Line Isaksen of the Norwegian police told Reuters, declining to give further details.
Medvedev, 26, crossed the border into Norway on January 13, where he applied for asylum.
Before fleeing, Medvedev said he had witnessed in Ukraine the summary murder 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 of the Wagner Group who fought in Ukraine before fleeing abroad.
The US said on Friday that Wagner, who played a central role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, would be classified as a major “transnational criminal organization”.