Russian President Vladimir Putin recently held a meeting at the Kremlin with Andrei Troshev, a former senior commander of the Wagner mercenary group, to discuss the utilization of “volunteer units” in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
This meeting underscores the Kremlin’s efforts to assert control over the Wagner group following a failed mutiny by its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in June, followed by Prigozhin’s death in a plane crash in August.
During the meeting, which took place late on Thursday, Deputy Defence Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was also present alongside Putin, highlighting the significance of the discussions.
Putin and Troshev delved into the use of volunteer units for various combat tasks, particularly within the special military operation zone.
Putin acknowledged Troshev’s firsthand experience in such units, having served in one for over a year, and emphasized the importance of resolving issues in advance to ensure successful combat operations.
Additionally, Putin expressed his interest in addressing social support for individuals involved in the fighting.
Troshev, known by his nom de guerre “Sedoi” or “grey hair,” attentively listened to Putin’s remarks, although his responses were not shown during the broadcast.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later revealed that Troshev now held a position at the defense ministry.
The fate of the Wagner group had been uncertain following Prigozhin’s failed mutiny and subsequent demise.
In response, Putin had ordered Wagner fighters to pledge allegiance to the Russian state, a directive that Prigozhin and many of his men had opposed.
Reports suggest that Putin had considered Troshev as a possible successor to Prigozhin shortly after the mutiny.
This meeting suggests that Troshev and Yevkurov will now oversee what remains of the Wagner group.
Once a formidable force with tens of thousands of fighters, Wagner gained notoriety for capturing the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in a particularly brutal battle during the conflict.
However, following Bakhmut’s fall, Wagner units withdrew from Ukraine. Some former Wagner fighters have since joined the Russian army, while others have joined various private military companies (PMCs).
British military intelligence has reported that a significant number of these ex-Wagner fighters may have redeployed to Ukraine as part of different units, although their exact status remains unclear.
Troshev, a decorated veteran with a history of service in Afghanistan and Chechnya, hails from Putin’s hometown, St. Petersburg, and has been photographed alongside the president.
In 2016, he was awarded Russia’s highest medal, Hero of Russia, for his role in the storming of Palmyra in Syria against Islamic State militants.