By Gwladys Fouche
OSLO – Norwegian police said on Wednesday they would not seek to intern a former commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group who recently fled to Norway, ordering him instead to stay at a secret location for security reasons.
Andrei Medvedev fled Russia by crossing into Norway on Jan. 13. He has said he fears for his life after witnessing what he said was the killing and mistreatment of Russian prisoners brought to the front lines in Ukraine to fight for Wagner.
On Monday police said he was detained by immigration police and held at the Trandum immigration detention centre outside Oslo, due to “disagreement” about measures taken to ensure his safety.
Trandum is where asylum seekers who have been turned down are held before they are deported. Police have denied suggestions Medvedev might be deported to Russia.
“The police’s immigration unit releases Medvedev from … Trandum under an order to be at a specific place of residence,” police said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
Police had until Wednesday to decide whether to seek a court order to intern him.
Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes, was not immediately available for comment.
On Monday, Risnes had said Medvedev had been detained due to “disagreement” about measures taken to ensure his safety and said that there was “zero chance” he would be deported to Russia.