Live blog | Ex-commander Wagner flees to Norway

International17 Jan ’23 06:23Author: BNR Web Editor

It is day 328 of the war in Ukraine. Follow the latest news about the war and all its consequences in this live blog.

(ANP/SIPA USA)

This is the most important news

Ex-commander Wagner flees to Norway

A former commander of Russia’s paramilitary group Wagner has sought asylum in Norway after deserting the mercenary army operating in Ukraine. Andrej Medvedev, 26, is detained near Oslo, after being stopped at the border on Friday without valid papers.

According to his lawyer Brynjulf ​​Risnes, he is accused of illegally entering Norway. He said his client left Wagner after witnessing war crimes and a large number of human rights violations in Ukraine. He should also have brought evidence. As far as is known, Medvedev is the first Wagner employee to defect to the West.

Monday, January 16

Ukrainian soldiers train in the US

23:00 | Ukrainian soldiers have arrived at a US military base in Oklahoma to learn how to operate the Patriot air defense system. In principle, the training takes several months. It is unclear whether the program can be implemented faster, CNN reports.

At the Fort Sill base, the US Army is also practicing with the very expensive system that can shoot missiles and planes out of the air at a distance of ten kilometers. An estimated 100 soldiers from Ukraine will come to learn how to operate and maintain the Patriot battery.

The US government pledged to send the Patriot system to Kiev during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington in December. In his daily video address on Monday evening, he called for faster and better decision-making in the West on arms supplies. Zelensky not only referred to the deadly attack on an apartment building in the city of Dnipro that claimed dozens of lives, but also warned of new attempts by Moscow to regain the initiative in the war.

Ex-commander Wagner group requests asylum in Norway

21:30 | A former commander of Russia’s paramilitary group Wagner has sought asylum in Norway after deserting the mercenary army operating in Ukraine. Andrej Medvedev, 26, is detained near Oslo, after being stopped at the border on Friday without valid papers.

According to his lawyer Brynjulf ​​Risnes, he is accused of illegally entering Norway. He said his client left Wagner after witnessing war crimes and a large number of human rights violations in Ukraine. He should also have brought evidence. As far as is known, Medvedev is the first Wagner employee to defect to the West.

Medvedev, according to the BBC, a Russian ex-soldier who subsequently served time in prison, joined the paramilitary group last July on a six-month contract. He is said to have been in charge of a Wagner detachment of dozens of soldiers until November. The lawyer goes on to say that his client also witnessed the execution of deserters by the Wagner group’s security service.

It is unclear whether the Wagner group recruited Medvevev from the prison like other inmates. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has confirmed that Medvedev fought for him, stating that he was of Norwegian nationality and led a battalion of soldiers from the Scandinavian country. Prigozhin also accused him of mistreating prisoners, something Medvedev’s lawyer denies.

Observers say Wagner provides about 10 percent of Russia’s armed forces in Ukraine. Wagner mercenaries last week played a prominent role in the capture of the otherwise unimportant town of Soledar in the Donetsk region.

Baerbock calls for a special court for Russia in Ukraine

15:00 | German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants a special court to investigate crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. She made the comments during a visit to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

According to Baerbock, the tribunal is necessary because Russia is not a member of the ICC. As a result, Russia cannot be prosecuted there either. “Ukraine is rightly concerned about this,” the minister said. In addition, Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, can block a referral to the ICC. The ICC is not an organization of the United Nations, and China and the United States, for example, are not members of it. But the UN can refer cases to the ICC.

According to Baerbock, the idea has been discussed with Ukraine and other international partners. “It may be based on Ukrainian law.” Although, according to the minister, the sessions could also take place outside of Ukraine.

Shortly before her visit to The Hague, Baerbock called the Netherlands an important ally. “Internationally, Germany and the Netherlands speak with one voice. Whether it’s about solidarity with the brave people in Iran or for the oppressed women and girls in Afghanistan.”

She is very satisfied with the cooperation with the Netherlands. “Since the beginning of the war, Germany and the Netherlands have stood side by side and by the side of the people of Ukraine. Our common goal remains that the people of Ukraine can live in peace and security again.”

The German minister also mentions The Hague as an important city for international law. “The Hague stands for international law and justice like no other city. The international courts that stand for the trust that we can resolve our conflicts peacefully in the world. In The Hague, I would like to make it clear that international law is strong and for all of us applies.”

Baerbock also lashes out at Russia and President Putin. “Putin is violating the most basic fundamental rights of international law. Cluster bombs on civilians, torture prisons in dark basements, Russia’s terrible anger in Ukraine cannot be justified.”

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