Oslo, Norway – Andrei Medvedev, a former commander from Russia’s notorious Wagner mercenary group, has been sentenced to 120 days in prison by the Vestfold District Court in Norway. Medvedev was found guilty of assaulting a woman and attacking a bartender.

The incidents occurred late last year as Medvedev awaited the outcome of his asylum request in Norway, reported The Barents Observer on Tuesday.

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The court detailed the events, stating that Medvedev, heavily intoxicated, threatened a bartender with a knife after being refused service.

On the same night, he also assaulted a woman, whom he reportedly considered a friend, because he was upset that she was talking on the phone with someone else.

According to the judge, Medvedev’s aggression towards the woman was severe.

“Medvedev pushed [the woman] onto the bed, spat in her face several times, held her on the bed, and hit her hard in the face with his palm and fist multiple times,” the judge was quoted as saying. Additionally, Medvedev bit the woman’s arms several times and threatened to kill her.

During the trial, Medvedev claimed that his friend had inflicted the injuries on herself and that his only interaction with the bartender involved throwing coins at him. Despite these claims, the court found sufficient evidence to convict him on both counts of assault.

Medvedev fled to Norway in January 2023 after deserting his post on the front lines in eastern Ukraine, where he served as a mercenary for the Wagner group.

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The Wagner group, a private military company known for its brutality, has been heavily involved in the conflict in Ukraine and is often accused of severe human rights abuses.

Medvedev claimed to have witnessed executions at a Wagner training center where the group was training inmates recruited from Russian prisons.

His potential as a valuable witness in exposing the notorious mercenary outfit’s brutality made headlines. However, his behavior since arriving in Norway has led to several run-ins with local authorities.

In April 2023, Medvedev received a suspended prison sentence for a drunken brawl. That same month, he was arrested after traveling illegally to neighboring Sweden.

His asylum request was rejected by Norwegian authorities in February on the grounds that, as a mercenary fighter and not a regular soldier in the Russian forces, he did not qualify for special protection. Nonetheless, Medvedev was granted a temporary residency permit in Norway due to the dangers he would face if he returned to Russia.

The former Wagner fighter’s actions and subsequent legal troubles have overshadowed his initial claims and potential testimony against the mercenary group.

His sentencing highlights the challenges and complexities faced by nations in handling individuals involved with private military companies, especially those implicated in significant human rights violations.

Medvedev’s case serves as a stark reminder of the lingering impacts of the Ukraine conflict and the far-reaching consequences of mercenary activities.

As he serves his sentence, the broader implications of his story and the testimony he may provide about the Wagner group’s operations in Ukraine remain to be seen.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members