(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin supplied mercenary fighters with the Wagner group the chance to stay serving collectively in Russia after their revolt, he stated in an interview revealed late on Thursday.
Putin, interviewed by the Russian every day Kommersant, stated this was one in every of a number of affords he made at a gathering with round three dozen fighters and their founder Yevgeny Prigozhin late final month, 5 days after Wagner staged the abortive revolt in opposition to Russia’s navy hierarchy.
Beneath the provide, the fighters would keep underneath their present commander, who the newspaper recognized solely by his name signal of “Gray Hair.”
Putin additionally stated it was as much as Russia’s authorities and parliament to work out a authorized framework for personal navy formations.
Kommersant stated Putin spoke of assembly 35 Wagner fighters and Prigozhin within the Kremlin and providing them choices for the longer term, together with remaining underneath their commander of 16 months.
“All of them may have gathered in a single place and continued their service,” Kommersant quoted the president as saying. “And nothing would have modified. They’d have been led by the identical one who had been their actual commander all that point.”
As Putin is the military’s commander-in-chief, he gave the impression to be implying that they might stay inside the Russian navy, though he didn’t say that explicitly.
“A lot of then nodded after I stated this,” Kommersant quoted Putin as saying.
Nevertheless, Prigozhin disagreed, it reported.
“Prigozhin … stated after listening: ‘No, the boys will not agree with such a choice,” Kommersant quoted Putin as saying.
Wagner fighters performed a key function within the Russian military’s advance into jap Ukraine and have been the driving power within the seize in Might of town of Bakhmut after months of battles.
However Prigozhin continuously accused the navy of failing to again his males and Wagner fighters sad with the Defence Ministry’s conduct of the warfare took management of the southern metropolis of Rostov-on-Don on June 23 and started transferring in direction of Moscow.
They halted their advance the subsequent day after being supplied a deal underneath which they might resettle in Belarus, together with Prigozhin. Any notion of urgent prices in opposition to Prigozhin was dropped.
Putin instructed the newspaper there was no risk of Wagner remaining in its present kind.
“Wagner doesn’t exist,” Putin instructed Kommersant. “There isn’t any regulation on personal navy organisations. It simply does not exist.”
(Reporting by Ron Popeski and Nick Starkov, Modifying by Rosalba O’Brien)