Mercenary Commanders Meet Putin, Pledge Loyalty Following Short-Lived Mutiny

by Joshua Brown
1 comment
Mercenary rebellion

In an unexpected turn of events, the commanders of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of a Russian mercenary group, met with President Vladimir Putin and expressed their allegiance to the government, according to a senior government spokesperson. The meeting comes just five days after their short-lived rebellion, leaving many questioning the extent of power and influence held by both men.

During the encounter, Prigozhin’s commanders presented their account of the events, emphasizing their unwavering support for the head of state and the commander-in-chief. They also declared their readiness to continue fighting for their homeland. Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson, confirmed the extraordinary meeting between Putin and Prigozhin, who previously led his troops in a march on Moscow, demanding a change in military leadership. Although Putin initially denounced Prigozhin as a traitor during the rebellion and vowed severe punishment, the criminal charges against him for rebellion were later dropped.

Prigozhin has remained silent regarding the Kremlin meeting, leaving his ultimate fate uncertain. The recent announcement suggests that much of the negotiations occur behind closed doors, and Prigozhin may still face prosecution for financial misconduct or other charges.

In conjunction with this development, Russia’s Defense Ministry released a video featuring General Valery Gerasimov, one of the targets of Prigozhin’s rebellion. It marked Gerasimov’s first appearance since the mutiny. In the video, Gerasimov and his team can be seen watching a report on a missile attack, with Gerasimov advocating for preemptive strikes against missile bases and improvements in missile defenses.

These simultaneous updates appear to be the Kremlin’s attempt to demonstrate control after a period of turbulence and reflect Putin’s delicate balancing act between condemning the largest threat to his rule and the individual responsible for it. Former Putin speechwriter Abbas Gallyamov suggested that Putin recognizes Prigozhin’s patriotism and requires his forces on the front lines, while Prigozhin relies on Putin to safeguard him from prosecution. Gallyamov described their relationship as one of negotiation and alliance, with Prigozhin emerging as the dominant force.

The meeting’s exceptional nature stems from Putin’s recent denial of any connection between the state and Prigozhin’s mercenary group. While mercenaries are illegal in Russia, Wagner troops have fought on behalf of Russian interests worldwide and played a pivotal role in capturing Bakhmut during the war’s most protracted and bloodiest battle. Putin has confirmed that Prigozhin’s companies operated under government contracts.

Throughout the conflict, Prigozhin has openly criticized decisions made by Russia’s top military officials, leading to tensions with the Kremlin that culminated in the mutiny on June 24. Despite Prigozhin claiming that the uprising targeted Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Gerasimov rather than the president, the rebellion significantly undermined Putin’s authority. Mark Galeotti, an author and head of the consulting firm Mayak Intelligence, described the delicate dance with Prigozhin as a compromise reflecting Putin’s reluctance to make tough personnel decisions that could destabilize his inner circle.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko initially claimed that Prigozhin was in Belarus, but later revised his statement, asserting that the mercenary leader was in Russia while his troops remained in their camps.

During the June 29 meeting, Putin provided his assessment of Wagner’s actions on the Ukrainian battlefield and the events of June 24. He also listened to the commanders’ explanations and offered them various options for future employment, including fighting as part of the regular Russian army, retirement from service, or joining Prigozhin in Belarus.

With a NATO summit approaching, the focus will shift to increasing pressure on Moscow after 16 months of war.

In another development, authorities reported that a Russian airstrike on a school in southern Ukraine resulted in the deaths of seven people who had gathered to receive humanitarian aid. The governor of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region condemned the attack as a war crime. Russia denies intentionally targeting civilian locations, although numerous allegations of war crimes have been made against them since the full-scale invasion began in February 2022. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March, holding him personally responsible for abducting children from Ukraine. Investigations are underway in Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, with assistance from The Hague-based International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine.

Ukraine has initiated a counteroffensive to reclaim occupied territory, and the country’s deputy defense minister, Hanna Maliar, reported progress. According to Maliar, Ukrainian fighters have regained 10.2 square kilometers (3.9 square miles) in the south and four square kilometers (1.5 square miles) in the east over the past week. These gains reportedly include the strategic heights of Bakhmut, where Prigozhin’s forces previously declared control of the city in May. However, independent verification of these claims is not available.

Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine-Russia war at https://bigbignews.net/russia-ukraine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mercenary rebellion

Q: What was the outcome of the meeting between Putin and the mercenary commanders led by Yevgeny Prigozhin?

A: Following a short-lived mutiny, the mercenary commanders met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and pledged their loyalty to the government. They expressed their support for Putin as the head of state and commander-in-chief, and they offered to continue fighting for their homeland.

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1 comment

Bookworm85 July 11, 2023 - 10:55 am

Woah, Prigozhin and Putin playin’ a delicate game here. Allies or enemies? Hard to tell, but it’s clear that power and politics make strange bedfellows.


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