Putin proposes Wagner boss Prigozin’s replacement with mercenary Troshev: report

Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a senior mercenary named Andrey Troshev as private army group Wagner’s new leader, removing Yevgeny Prigozhin against the backdrop of the outfit’s failed uprising last month, international media reports said. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed to Wagner Group fighters that a senior mercenary named Andrey Troshev now command the private military group,” CNN TV reported, referring to the Russian leader’s comments to the Russia’s Kommersant newspaper. Reuters news agency, meanwhile, supplemented the report, saying Putin proposed Troshev, known as “Sedoi” meaning “grey hair”, should command the Wagner fighters instead of Prigozhin, who led the last month’s abortive revolt against Russia’s military leadership. Reuters said according to European Union sanctions documents, French official documents and sources with knowledge of the matter and Russian media reports, Troshev too is a senior Wagner commander. European Union sanctions concerning the situation in Syria detail Troshev’s position as “chief of staff” of the Wagner Group operations in Syria, which supported the Syrian regime. CNN identified him as a former Russian military colonel who was born in April 1953 in the then Leningrad, which was renamed as St. Petersburg as it was during the pre-Soviet Union era. The CNN reported ‘Grey hair’ was also a former employee of the special rapid response detachment of the Russia’s Interior Ministry while according to Russian online news outlet Fontanka he also fought the wars in Chechnya and Afghanistan. According to CNN analysis, Putin appears to have created a split between senior fighters from the Wagner mercenary group and its leader Prigozhin since its failed uprising, as it appeared from the Kommersant narratives. The Kommersant report indicated that Putin made the proposal during his meeting with Wagner commanders, joined as well by Prigozhin, five days after the mercenary group’s rebellion collapsed. The newspaper said Putin gave the Wagner mercenary group leaders multiple employment choices, priorotising Troshev’s name as they fought under his direct command. “They (Wagner leaders) could have all gathered in one place and continued to serve and nothing would have changed for them. They would be led by the same person who has been their real commander all along,” the paper quoted Putin as saying. Putin’s comments came during an interview with the Russian newspaper and when the Kommersant reporter asked “what happened then” after he floated the proposal, the Russian President replied “Many people nodded (affirmatively) when I said that”. CNN, meanwhile, said the fate of Wagner boss Prigozhin remains unclear as he initially reportedly to have traveled to Belarus as part of a deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko following the failed uprising. Lukashenko last week said the Wagner boss was now in Russia. The international media, security experts and analysts believed to be familiar with Putin’s psychology feared Prigozhin was exposed to an uncertain fate while US President Joe two days ago said the Wagner leader should be careful of “poisoning”. “God only knows what he’s likely to do. We’re not even sure where he is and what relationship he has. If I were he, I’d be careful what I ate. I’d keep my eye on my menu,” Biden told a news conference in Helsinki. In a related development AFP reported that Belarus on Friday said that instructors from the Russian mercenary force Wagner were training its troops, following weeks of uncertainty about the future of the group after its failed mutiny in Russia. But Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had cast doubt on the deal when he said earlier this month that no Wagner fighters had moved to the country yet. The Belarusian defence ministry appeared to confirm Friday that at least some Wagner fighters had arrived.

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