The border runs in the river. Andrei Medvedev was detained near Grense Jakobselv. Photo: Atle Staalesen

"Andrei Medvedev had no intention to cross the border to Russia"

The lawyer of the former Wagner warrior says the man was not planning a return to Russia. "He only wanted to visit the Norwegian-Russian border areas in connection with a documentary project."
September 23, 2023


Lawyer Brynjulf Risnes confirms that his client was detained by police in the area of Grense Jakobselv on Friday evening. But is it all based on a misunderstanding, he claims.

Brynjulf Risnes is lawyer for Andrei Medvedev. Photo: private

“It was likely a misunderstanding. He wanted to see the border where he came in January for some documentary project. He does not know directions and the area,” Risnes told the Barents Observer on telephone.

Andrei Medvedev was detained by police about 50 km east of Kirkenes, near the border to Russia. Grense Jakobselv is located along the easternmost part of the 198 km long border. Only a small and shallow river separates the two countries in the area.

However, Grense Jakobselv is far away from the place where Medvedev crossed from Russia to Norway in January.

Following the detention, Norwegian police charged Medvedev for violating the border rules. It is illegal to cross the land border between Norway and Russia in the terrain.


Andrei Medvedev at the Kirkenes airport in June 2023. Photo: Thomas Nilsen



The attempted border crossing came only few hours after Medvedev briefly met a journalist from the Barents Observer in downtown Kirkenes. The 27-year former Wagner fighter then said that he intended to cross the border and that he was looking for somebody with a car that could give him a lift.

He explained that he believed that he soon would be extradited to Ukraine and that a return to Russia would be a safer alternative.

It is the third time that Medvedev visits border town Kirkenes following his escape from Russia in early 2023. Both in June and July, the former mercenary told the Barents Observer that he did not want to return to Russia.

Lawyer Brynjulf Risnes admits that it was not smart of Andrei Medvedev to take a taxi to the border area this Friday. But he was not planning to cross to Russia, he underlines.

“After all, he can any time he wants travel back, and there are much easier ways to do that than run,” he explains to TV2.

According to Risnes, his client regrets the incident and hopes for a rapid release.



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