Putin says Russian mercenary group has no legal basis so ‘doesn’t exist’

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the Wagner non-public army firm ‘merely would not exist’ as a authorized entity, in feedback including to the collection of usually weird twists which have adopted the group’s abortive revolt final month — probably the most critical menace to Putin’s 23-year rule amid the warfare in Ukraine.
“There isn’t a legislation on non-public army organisations. It merely would not exist,” Putin advised a Russian newspaper late Thursday, referring to the Wagner group.
Putin recounted to Kommersant his personal model of a Kremlin occasion attended by 35 Wagner commanders, together with the group’s chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, on June 29. That assembly got here simply 5 days after Prigozhin and his troops staged a shocking however short-lived rise up in opposition to Moscow authorities.
The assembly was revealed earlier this week by a Kremlin official.
Putin stated that on the talks, Wagner rejected a suggestion to maintain its troops in Ukraine, the place they’ve performed key battlefield roles, underneath the management of their direct commander.
“All of them may have gathered in a single place and continued to serve,” Putin advised the newspaper, “And nothing would have modified for them. They’d have been led by the identical one who had been their actual commander all alongside.”
Putin has beforehand stated that Wagner troops had to decide on whether or not to signal contracts with the Russian Defence Ministry, transfer to neighbouring Belarus or retire from service.
Based on Putin, though “many nodded” when he made his proposal, Prigozhin rejected the thought, responding that “the boys will not agree with such a call.”
This, Putin stated, was one in every of “a number of employment choices” put ahead on the assembly.
In the course of the revolt that lasted lower than 24 hours, Prigozhin’s mercenaries rapidly swept by way of the southern Russian metropolis of Rostov-on-Don and captured the army headquarters there with out firing a shot, earlier than driving to inside about 200 kilometres of Moscow.
Prigozhin described the transfer as a “march of justice” to oust the army leaders, who demanded that Wagner signal contracts with the defence ministry by July 1.
The destiny of Prigozhin and the phrases of a deal that ended the armed rise up by providing amnesty for him and his mercenaries, together with permission, to maneuver to Belarus stay cloudy.
Wagner mercenaries are finishing the handover of their weapons to the Russian army, the Defence Ministry stated Wednesday.
Their disarming of Wagner displays efforts by Russian authorities to defuse the menace they posed and likewise seems to herald an finish to the mercenary group’s operations on the battlefield in Ukraine, the place Kyiv’s forces are engaged in a counteroffensive.

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