Wagner mercenaries are no longer participating in combat operations in Ukraine “in any significant capacity,” the Pentagon said Thursday, more than two weeks after the group’s aborted insurgency in Russia. “At this stage, we do not see Wagner forces participating in any significant capacity in support of combat operations in Ukraine,” Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder told a news briefing. The armed group, which played a key role in the Ukraine attack, tried to topple Russia’s military leadership during a brief uprising before retreating.
The whereabouts of its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, are largely unknown in the wake of a deal with the Kremlin that allowed him to be exiled to neighbouring Belarus. Ryder said the United States assesses that “the majority” of Wagner fighters are still in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. Russian Army Chief Valery Gerasimov Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu were the target of fierce criticism from Prigozhin for months, which led to an attempted mutiny.
Since the failed rebellion there has been speculation that there could be a reshuffle of Russia’s military leadership, while details regarding the accord that ended the Wagner Rebellion are uncertain. The Kremlin has said that President Vladimir Putin met with Prigozhin during an hour-long meeting in Moscow a few days after the uprising. On Wednesday, Russia announced that its military had received more than 2,000 pieces of military hardware, including tanks, from Wagner following the uprising.