Wagner mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin met with Russian President Vladimir Putin five days after the former’s attempted coup last month.
We’re collecting analysis and insights on what the meeting might indicate about Putin’s power in Russia.
- Freelance journalist Jane Lytvynenko, who reports on Ukraine, wrote on Twitter that there are “always reasons behind Kremlin communications,” adding that publicizing the meeting will likely “be used to portray Putin as a great peacemaker and negotiator, paving over the significance of Prigozhin’s mutiny as Putin keeps trying to manage the fallout.”
- Colin P. Clarke, director of research at security consultancy firm The Soufan Group, tweeted that the Wagner Group is a complex multinational paramilitary organization. ”#Wagner is a global conglomerate, a network of shell companies. I doubt Putin himself understands its complexity. Kremlin still needs Prigozhin to explain how it works/operates.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Putin met with Prigozhin and unit commanders from Wagner on June 29th. The commanders told Putin they were loyal to the Kremlin, Peskov said.
Prigozhin was said to have returned to Russia from Belarus last week, where he was temporarily exiled following a deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Questions have continued to mount on what Russian top-brass knew about Prigozhin’s plot against Putin in the lead up to the short-lived insurrection.