A Russian defector who fled over the frozen river separating Russia and Norway last winter has turned up back in Kirkenes, the Norwegian city closest to the Russian border. He’s still seeking asylum in Norway after allegedly evading Russian border guards, but has landed in more trouble along the way.
The Kirkenes-based Barents Observer reported that they’d encountered Andrei Medvedev (external link) in Kirkenes on Friday. He was vague about the reasons for his return to Kirkenes, saying only that he was there to see some friends. The nearby border crossing at Storskog is the only one still open to the Schengen region of Europe to Russians holding tourist visas.
Medvedev, who has a prison record in Russia, has claimed he fled service in the Wagner mercenary group and remains willing to testify about its brutal operations against Ukraine and deserters like himself. Questions continue to fly, meanwhile, around his background and the stories he’s told.