The Kremlin said Monday that President Vladimir Putin had met with Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin on June 29 in the Kremlin, days after the mercenary group attempted to topple Russia’s military leadership.
“The president gave his assessment of the events of June 24,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, referring to the failed insurrection, adding that Putin also “listened to accounts given by (Wagner) commanders”.
Just over two weeks after the aborted mutiny, there is still significant uncertainty surrounding the fate of the Wagner group and the deal that ended the rebellion against Russia’s top military brass.
Under the plan, the mercenary chief and some of his fighters were expected to be exiled to Belarus.
Wagner troops that wanted to keep fighting for Russia meanwhile would sign contracts with the conventional army.
During the three-and-a-half-hour meeting in the Kremlin with Wagner commanders, Putin “offered them alternative options for employment”, including in combat roles.
Observers see the rebellion as the biggest challenge to Putin’s authority since he came to power.
Wagner commanders “stressed that they are staunch supporters... of the head of state”, Peskov said.
“They also said that they were ready to continue fighting for the motherland.”
On Thursday, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko – who acted as a mediator in the deal with Wagner – said that neither Prigozhin nor his men were in his country.
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