Mercenaries from the Russian Wagner group are no longer participating in the fighting in Ukraine in a “significant” way, the Pentagon said on Thursday, after the group’s failed rebellion in Russia in late June.
“At this time, we don’t see Wagner’s forces participating in any significant way in support of the fighting in Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder told a news conference.
The paramilitary group, which played a key role in Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, revolted and occupied a barracks in southern Russia for several hours on June 24, before retreating.
The whereabouts of Wagner’s boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is unknown after it was reported that he reached an agreement with the Kremlin to go into exile in Belarus.
Ryder said the United States estimates “the majority” of Wagner’s fighters remain in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.
Prior to the attempted mutiny, Prigozhin fiercely criticized Russian Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for months.
Since the failed rebellion there has been speculation of a restructuring of the Russian military leadership and uncertainty about the terms of the agreement for Wagner to back down.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview on Thursday that he met with Prigozhin and Wagner’s commanders on June 29 in the Kremlin and made them a proposal, which was rejected.
Russia announced on Wednesday that it received more than 2,000 military equipment, including tanks, and tons of ammunition from the Wagner group after the rebellion.