On Thursday, in an interview published in a Russian newspaper, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Wagner group simply does not exist. He made these remarks while talking about the Wagner mercenary group. This interview comes just after the Russian defence ministry seized the tanks, the military equipment and artillery of the said mercenary group which were used in the Mutiny of the group against the top Russian military leadership. Putin also mentioned that the Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin did not want to give the control of the group to someone else which resulted in such a fate of the group.
While talking about the Wagner fighters, Putin said that this event is regrettable for the ordinary Wagner fighters who fought with dignity on the front lines in Ukraine.
Putin also mentioned that in the recent meeting with the Wagner commanders about their scopes of possible employment, he had given the Wagner fighters the opportunity to fight in Ukraine under the command of another Wagner commander who goes by the call sign “Gray”. When he did this all the other commanders were receptive to his offer except Prigozhin who, according to Putin, said that his boys do not except this offer.
According to Kremlin, a meeting was held between the Wagner commanders and Putin after the stopped Mutiny of Wagner. Prigozhin also apparently joined this meeting. However, neither Wagner group nor Prigozhin confirmed that there was a meeting held between them and President Putin. In addition to that, Wagner commander Yevgeny Prigozhin has not been seen in public since the day of the failed mutiny. He was said to be in Russia for the meeting but nobody saw him. Prior to this he was supposed to be in Belarus and the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had confirmed that Prigozhin was in fact in Belarus but afterwards, he said that Wagner chief Prigozhin returned to Russia after his brief stay in Belarus.
Now the future of the Wagner fighters is in uncertainty. Prigozhin in his attempted Wagner mutiny, never really came against Putin directly. Prigozhin mainly sought to topple the top military leadership in Russia as he blamed them for the deaths of many Wagner soldiers. The two main targets of Prigozhin were the Russian defence Minister and the Russian army general. However, after a deal was brokered by Belarusian President Lukashenko, Wagner mutiny was put to a stop. The Kremlin said that according to the deal, Prigozhin was supposed to retreat to Belarus and all the charges against him would be dropped. And as for the other Wagner fighters, they had a choice to either sign a contract with Russian ministry of defence, going to Belarus or return to their civilian lives.
Many changes are being made in the military leadership of Russia after this attempted Wagner mutiny. Putin did not remove the defence minister and Army general from their respective posts but the military leaders who were in support of the ideas of Wagner and have problems with the top brass are being fired, or questioned.