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Norway Jails Ex-Wagner Commander for Beating Woman, Attacking Bartender

Andrei Medvedev. © Thomas Nilsen / The Barents Observer

An ex-commander from Russia’s notorious Wagner mercenary group who fled to Norway last year has been sentenced to 120 days in prison for beating a woman and assaulting a bartender, The Barents Observer reported Tuesday.

The Vestfold District Court in Norway found Andrei Medvedev guilty of beating his friend and assaulting a bartender who refused to serve him a drink. It was not immediately clear if Medvedev was in a relationship with the woman.

According to The Barents Observer, both crimes were committed late last year as Medvedev awaited an asylum request. He was reportedly heavily intoxicated when he threatened the bartender with a knife, while that same night, he beat his friend because he was upset that she was talking on the phone with someone.

“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 several times,” the judge was quoted as saying by The Barents Observer.

The former Wagner fighter was also said to have bitten the woman’s arms multiple times and threatened to kill her. Medvedev claimed in court that his friend beat herself up and that he only threw coins at the bartender.

Medvedev fled to Norway in January 2023 after deserted from the front line in eastern Ukraine, where he fought as a mercenary for the Wagner group. He claims to have seen executions at a Wagner center where the group was training inmates recruited from Russia’s prison system.

A potentially valuable witness in shedding light on the notorious mercenary outfit’s reported brutality in Ukraine, Medvedev had several run-ins with Norwegian authorities since arriving in the Scandinavian country.

In April 2023, he was handed a suspended prison sentence over a drunken brawl, while that same month, he was arrested after illegally traveling to neighboring Sweden.

Norway rejected Medvedev’s asylum request in February, saying that since he was a mercenary fighter and not a soldier in Russia’s regular forces, he was not eligible for special protection. However, authorities did grant him a temporary residency permit in Norway citing the dangers he faces in Russia.

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