A Kremlin spokesman said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin after his short-lived mutiny.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the meeting took place on June 29 at the Kremlin and lasted three hours. The talks were held just a few days after Prigozhin’s 24-hour rebellion, which started on June 23 and ended on June 24.
“[Putin] invited 35 people — all the squad commanders and the leadership of the [Wagner private military] company, including Prigozhin,” Peskov said, according to TASS. “The meeting took place in the Kremlin on June 29 and lasted for nearly three hours.”
Peskov said that Putin listened to explanations from the Wagner commanders and “offered them further options for employment and further use in combat.” Peskov said he couldn’t share much detail about the meeting but added that Prigozhin and other Wagner commanders pledged their loyalty to Russia.
“The commanders themselves shared their version of what happened, they emphasized that they are staunch supporters and soldiers of the head of state and the supreme commander-in-chief, and also said that they are ready to continue fighting for the Fatherland,” he said.
When the mutiny first ended, according to media reports, Prigozhin agreed to live in exile in Belarus in exchange for having charges against him dropped. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed on June 27 that Prigozhin traveled to Belarus but recently said the mercenary chief was in Russia.
In a speech delivered on June 26, Putin vowed to uphold the commitment he made to Wagner fighters to end the mutiny, which involved three options: sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry, go to Belarus, or go home to their families. At this point, it’s unclear what the fate of most Wagner fighters will be or what role Prigozhin will fill in the future.