Russian mercenary group Wagner was left leaderless after its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin died in a suspicious plane crash. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to work to find a new leader for Wagner, which he uses in many parts of the world.
Putin met yesterday in the Kremlin with Andrei Troshev, a former commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, also known by the nickname "Sedoi" or "grey hair" in Russian and one of Prigozhin's deputies. Russian Deputy Defence Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was also present at the meeting and discussed the use of volunteer combat units in the Ukrainian war.
Putin tasked Troshev with supervising the volunteer combat units in Ukraine.
“You know what happened, how it was done, you know in advance the problems that need to be solved in order for the struggle to proceed in the best and most successful way," Putin was quoted as telling Troshev at the meeting.
On the other hand, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Troshev now works under the Defence Ministry.
Russian media emphasized that the meeting in the Kremlin showed that the state had now "seized control" over the mercenary group following the failed June uprising of Wagner leader Prigojin, who died in a plane crash in August and quoted Troshev as saying that just days after Prigozhin's rebellion, Putin offered the opportunity to continue fighting the mercenaries and Troshev told Prigozhin to take over.
In 2016, Thoshev was awarded Russia's highest medal, the "Hero of Russia", for his role in attacks against militants in Palmyra in Syria.
Wagner's founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, died on August 23, when his private plane crashed over Moscow. It is alleged that the accident that caused Prigozhin's death was carried out on Putin's orders. Those who put forward this allegation, referring to the Wagner leader's incomplete coup attempt on June 23, state that Prigozhin crossed the red line.
Wagner's forces, led by Prigozhin, left the front line in Ukraine and entered Russian territory, taking control of the city of Rostov na Donu. Wagner, who did not encounter any resistance in the city, announced that they would advance to Moscow.
After Wagner's troops advanced to Moscow, the Russian army organized air strikes in response, but many planes and helicopters were shot down as the mercenary group responded. The group approaching the capital stopped the coup attempt with the intervention of Belarusian PresidentAlexander Lukashenko. Afterward, as a result of the agreement reached with the meeting of Putin and Prigojin in the Kremlin, Wagner troops passed to Belarus.