Putin met with the head of Wagner's mercenaries after the rebellion, according to the Kremlin | International
The movements and whereabouts of Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of Wagner's mercenaries, after the brief but intense rebellion against the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defense that he led on June 24, remain a mystery. Last Thursday, the Belarusian president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, assured that he was in Russia and not in Belarus, as established in the agreement reached with the Russian government. This Monday, Moscow reported that Wagner's boss held a three-hour meeting with 35 other participants with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin days after the riot. This detail adds more questions than answers about the situation of what is known as Chef from Putin. This Monday, in addition, Valeri Gerasimov, the highest-ranking general in Russia, has reappeared for the first time since the rebellion. Prigozhin had demanded his dismissal, along with that of the Defense Minister.
The meeting, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, took place on June 29, five days after the aborted riot, seen as the most serious challenge to Putin since he took office on the last day of 1999. Much of what What happened on June 24, the day of the riot, and how the authorities are managing its aftermath remains unclear. One of the biggest mysteries is why Prigozhin does not seem to have fulfilled the terms of the agreement that ended the confrontation yet, what his future plans are and those of his fighters, and why he does not appear to have been punished for the Kremlin. Putin called Wagner's actions a treacherous "stab in the back" that could have pushed Russia into civil war.
Peskov has detailed that Putin had invited 35 people to the three-hour meeting, including Prigozhin and Wagner's top brass. "The only thing we can say is that the president gave his assessment of the company's (Wagner) actions at the front during the special military operation (in Ukraine) and also gave his assessment of the events of June 24 (the day of riot),” Peskov told reporters. According to the spokesman, Putin had listened to the explanations of the commanders themselves about what happened and had offered them more employment and combat options.
In the brief mutiny, Wagner's fighters seized control of the city of Rostov-on-Don, near the Ukrainian border, and in their advance towards Moscow shot down an unknown number of military helicopters, killing their pilots. Peskov claimed that Wagner's commanders had reaffirmed his loyalty to Putin at the Kremlin meeting. “They (the commanders) stressed that they are staunch supporters and soldiers of the head of state and the supreme commander in chief. They also said that they are ready to continue fighting for the motherland,” Peskov said.
The riot, which Putin had likened to the riots leading up to the 1917 Russian Revolution, was defused thanks to a deal brokered by Lukashenko. Since then, Putin and the Kremlin have tried to project an image of normality.
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Reappearance of Valeri Gerasimov
This Monday, while the Kremlin announced the meeting with Prigozhin, the Russian high-ranking general, Valeri Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff, has made his first public appearance since the mutiny. A video released by the Defense Ministry on Monday, but apparently recorded a day earlier, shows Gerasimov ordering his subordinates to destroy Ukrainian missile bases.
The images indicate that Putin has for now kept his two most powerful soldiers, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Gerasimov, in their posts, despite Prigozhin's demands to fire them for alleged incompetence.
Sitting in a military command center on a white leather seat, chairing a meeting with high-ranking generals, Gerasimov, 67, was shown asking for and then listening to a report from Viktor Afzalov, a deputy in the aerospace forces of General Sergei Surovikin. . Surovikin has not appeared in public since the riot amid unconfirmed reports that he had been detained for questioning.
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