Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has met with the head of the Wagner private military company, Evgeny Prigozhin, several days after the group aborted an uprising, as part of a Belarus-mediated deal, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
Peskov told reporters that Putin invited 35 people to the meeting, including unit commanders, and that it lasted three hours, Reuters reports.
According to Kremlin spokesperson, the Wagner commanders told Putin they were his soldiers and would continue to fight for him.
The brief mutiny led by Prigozhin, in which Wagner fighters took control of the southern city of Rostov, confronted Putin with the gravest challenge to his hold on power since taking over as Russia’s paramount leader on the last day of 1999.
It was defused in a deal brokered by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. Putin has since thanked his army and security services for averting chaos and civil war.
Prigozhin has said the mutiny was not aimed at overthrowing the government but at “bringing to justice” the army and defence chiefs for what he called their blunders and unprofessional actions in Ukraine.
Prigozhin was meant to leave for Belarus under the terms of the deal but Lukashenko said last week he was back in Russia and that Wagner fighters had not yet taken up an offer to relocate to Belarus, raising questions about the implementation of the agreement.