Norway police to continue interrogation of former Wagner commander

Andrei Medvedev, a former commander of Russia's Wagner mercenary group poses for a picture during an interview in Oslo

By Terje Solsvik and Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) -Norwegian police said on Friday they intend to continue to interrogate former Wagner mercenary group commander Andrei Medvedev, who fled from Russia to Norway last month after fighting in the war in Ukraine.

Medvedev, who earlier this week told Reuters he was speaking out to help ensure the perpetrators of crimes are brought to justice, has handed “some digital material” to police, Kripos, Norway’s national criminal police service, said in a statement.

The material was being examined, added Kripos. Kripos is the unit of the Norwegian police which has responsibility for investigating war crimes.

Medvedev remains a witness, and is not under any obligation to talk to investigators, Kripos said. Medvedev is not suspected of anything apart from the illegal border crossing.

“Medvedev gives the impression that he wants to continue to say more” about his time with Wagner, police said.

Security arrangements have also been made for Medvedev’s safety, “both visible and non-visible” measures, it added, without giving specifics.

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Wagner forces have been locked in a bloody battle of attrition against Ukrainian forces in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.

During the Reuters interview on Wednesday, Medvedev cited one incident in which he said he witnessed two people who did not want to fight being shot dead in front of newly released convicts who had been enrolled in Wagner.

Asked about other incidents he witnessed, he said he could not comment on them at this stage due the Norwegian police’s investigations.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify his assertions.

Wagner has said Medvedev had worked in a “Norwegian unit” of Wagner and had “mistreated prisoners”.

“Be careful, he’s very dangerous,” the group said in an emailed statement to Reuters on Thursday, reiterating previous comments made about Medvedev by Wagner’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(Editing by William Maclean)