Putin: Wagner Chief Prigozhin Rejects Offer to Join Russian Army

Putin: Wagner Chief Prigozhin Rejects Offer to Join Russian Army

Putin: Wagner Mercenaries Reject Offer to Join Russian Army, Says President. Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner mercenary group, has declined an offer for his fighters to serve as a unit in the Russian army, according to President Vladimir Putin.

In recent talks held in Moscow, many group commanders had expressed support for the plan to be led by a senior Wagner figure. However, Prigozhin’s response was that “the guys do not agree with this decision.”

Putin: Wagner Chief Prigozhin Rejects Offer to Join Russian Army

The discussions took place shortly after Wagner’s failed mutiny in late June, which challenged Putin’s authority. The mercenaries were given the option to join the regular Russian army or go to Belarus, a close ally of Russia, as part of the resolution to the rebellion.

Wagner has been involved in intense fighting since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The US military now assesses that the group is no longer significantly engaged in combat operations in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Belarus’ defense ministry announced that Wagner fighters are currently serving as military instructors for the country’s territorial defense forces. President Putin suggested that the issue of legalizing Wagner fighters should be discussed in parliament and emphasized that “Wagner does not exist” as a fighting unit.

The Kremlin appears to be attempting to create a division between Prigozhin and regular Wagner fighters, with state media in Russia working to discredit him. Prigozhin’s current whereabouts are unknown.

US President Joe Biden cautioned Prigozhin about the risk of poisoning following the mutiny and expressed doubt about Putin’s chances of winning the war in Ukraine. Biden expressed hope for Ukraine’s progress in its counter-offensive and the potential for a negotiated peace settlement.

However, concerns are growing over the slow progress of Kyiv’s troops in the counter-offensive, while some believe that Russia’s defenses will eventually crumble, allowing Ukraine to regain strategically important territory and advance towards Crimea.

Ukraine has long requested increased military assistance from Western allies, and although Nato membership was not granted at the recent summit in Lithuania, G7 members provided a long-term security framework to help protect against Russian aggression.

Ukrainian army commander Oleksandr Tarnavskyi confirmed that the military received the first shipment of cluster munitions promised by the US in a controversial move.

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