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- An ex-Wagner mercenary said the group’s leaders shot soldiers who did not want to fight in Ukraine.
- “They brought two prisoners who refused to go fight and they shot them in front of everyone,” he told CNN.
- He added that soldiers were often sent into battle with little direction and “no real tactics.”
An ex-Wagner mercenary who recently fled the war in Ukraine shared horror stories alleging the Russian-backed soldiers who didn’t want to fight in Ukraine were brought in front of new recruits and shot.
“They would round up those who did not want to fight and shoot them in front of newcomers,” Andrei Medvedev told CNN’s Anderson Cooper while discussing the “ruthless” tactics.
“They brought two prisoners who refused to go fight and they shot them in front of everyone and buried them right in the trenches that were dug by the trainees,” Medvedev alleged.
He added that soldiers were often sent into battle with little direction and “no real tactics.”
“We just got orders about the position of the adversary…There were no definite orders about how we should behave,” Medvedev explained. “We just planned how we would go about it, step by step. Who would open fire, what kind of shifts we would have…How it would turn out that was our problem.”
Medvedev had previously served in the Russian army before joining Wagner as a volunteer in July 2022. He told CNN he ended up fighting in Ukraine less than 10 days after he signed his contract.
He told CNN that it took only six days of deployment in Ukraine to know he no longer wanted to fight for the private military group after seeing what they were doing to their own members, but that he didn’t have the opportunity to leave until recently.
“I was afraid I would be captured and shot as a traitor,” he said.
Medvedev is now in Oslo, Norway after crossing the border from Russia. He is now seeking asylum.
Medvedev told CNN he evaded arrest “at least ten times” during his defection journey and that he had to dodge bullets from Russian forces.
The Wagner Group, a notorious Russian paramilitary organization with close links to the Kremlin, has appeared to be the main fighting force in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The US issued a sweeping list of sanctions aimed at the group Thursday and designated Wagner a “significant transnational criminal organization.” The sanctions target a handful of individuals — “cronies” of Russian President Vladimir Putin — and entities involved in the mercenary group’s global network.