**Russian President Putin Holds Talks with Wagner Mercenary Leader Prigozhin**
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently held talks with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner, a private military company. This meeting took place shortly after a failed uprising that Putin had condemned as an act of treason. The Kremlin confirmed the meeting, stating that Putin listened to the explanations of the commanders and provided his assessment of the crisis. Additionally, he offered Wagner forces further options for employment and combat operations.
**The Unprecedented Meeting**
The meeting between Putin and Prigozhin, along with other top Wagner commanders, lasted for nearly three hours at the Kremlin. A total of 35 people associated with the private military company were invited. During the meeting, Putin heard the commanders’ explanations regarding the June 24 mutiny and expressed his evaluation of the situation. According to reports, the president also proposed additional opportunities for Wagner forces in terms of job assignments and combat operations.
**The Uprising and Putin’s Response**
The failed uprising posed a significant threat to Putin’s rule, as it was the most serious challenge he had faced in his nearly quarter-century of leadership. When the rebellion initially broke out, Putin had already warned that Wagner’s leaders would face severe consequences. In a televised address, he publicly stated that the organizers had betrayed their country and its people.
**The Wagner Rebellion and its Outcome**
During the revolt, Prigozhin’s forces advanced to within 200 kilometers of Moscow without much opposition. However, the uprising was ultimately called off under a deal brokered by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. As part of the agreement, Putin allowed Prigozhin and his men to relocate to Belarus and dropped the criminal charges of armed mutiny against them.
**Russia’s Top Military Commander Returns to the Public Eye**
Following the failed mutiny, Russia’s Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, made his first appearance on state television since the incident. Gerasimov, who is responsible for Russia’s war operations in Ukraine, was shown in a short video receiving battlefield reports from officials. Putin had appointed Gerasimov as the overall commander of Russia’s invasion force in January to replace General Sergei Surovikin, who has not been seen publicly since the end of the Wagner rebellion. Prigozhin had sought to overthrow Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, accusing them of multiple failures during the war and attempting to dismantle his mercenary group.
In summary, Russian President Putin’s meeting with Wagner mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, along with other notable figures from the private military company, took place shortly after a failed uprising. During the meeting, Putin listened to the commanders’ explanations, offered his assessment of the crisis, and presented potential employment and combat options for the Wagner forces. This meeting adds another layer of complexity to the failed mutiny, which posed a significant challenge to Putin’s rule. Additionally, Russia’s top military commander, Valery Gerasimov, made his first public appearance since the rebellion, while Prigozhin accused Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of failures in the war and plotting against his mercenary group.