Andrey Medvedev, a former commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner who recently fled to Norway, was apprehended by police, he told the Guardian on Monday.
Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes, said police decided to apprehend Medvedev on Sunday evening after a “strong disagreement” with the former Wagner soldier over living conditions in the safe house where he was living since arriving in Norway.
“He was staying on a voluntary basis at the safe house. If he refuses to be there, they either have to let him go or detain him,” Risnes said.
Risnes added that Medvedev was now transferred to the temporary detention center.
“I will try to talk to the police and we will obviously find a solution,” the lawyer said.
Medvedev, in a brief phone call with the Guardian, confirmed he had been apprehended and expressed fear of being deported to Russia.
Earlier Monday, Norwegian police announced that Medvedev was in custody.
“He is apprehended…and we are considering whether to seek a court order for internment,” Line Isaksen of Norwegian police told Reuters, declining to give further details.
Medvedev, 26, crossed the Norwegian border on January 13, where he applied for asylum.
Before fleeing, Medvedev said he witnessed the summary killing of Wagnerian fighters in Ukraine 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 Wagner Group soldier who fought in Ukraine to flee abroad.
The United States said last Friday that Wagner, which played a central role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, would be designated a major “transnational criminal organization.”