Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wagner mercenary group that launched a short-lived rebellion against the country’s military leadership in June “does not exist”. The president made the remarks in the Russian newspaper Kommersant, describing for the first time discussions at a Kremlin meeting attended by 35 Wagner commanders, including the group’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, reports CNN.
The meeting took place on 29 June, just five days after Wagner fighters had launched a short-lived uprising on 24 June. “At the meeting, on the one hand, I assessed what they had done on the battlefield (in Ukraine) and, on the other hand, what they had done during the events of June 24. Putin was quoted as saying, “Third, I showed him possible options for his further service, including the use of his combat experience. That is all.”
When asked whether the group would be retained as a combat unit, the president replied: “Well, the Wagner PMC does not exist. We don’t have any laws for private military organizations. It simply does not exist.”. There is no such legal entity.”
“The group exists, but legally it does not exist. This is a separate issue related to actual legalization. But this is a question that should be discussed in the government, in the State Duma. This is not an easy question.”
Putin further said that he offered the 35 Wagner commanders several employment options, including one headed by their direct commander, known by the call sign ‘Sedoy’ (grey hair) – a man under whom Wagner fighters were trained. Had fought the battle for the last 16 months. “They could all gather in one place and continue to serve,” CNN quoted the Russian leader as telling the newspaper. “And nothing will have changed for them. They will be led by the same person who has always been their real commander.”