‘Sign contract, return home or go to Belarus’: Putin lays out options for Wagner soldiers

Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the members of the Wagner private military group to sign a contract with the country's Defence Ministry, return home or go to Belarus.

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the members of the Wagner private military group to sign a contract with the country’s Defence Ministry, return home or go to Belarus.

The majority of the fighters of the Wagner group are patriots of Russia, and they were simply used, Putin said in his address to Russian citizens on Monday night, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We knew that the vast majority of the fighters and commanders of the Wagner group are also Russian patriots, devoted to their people and state,” he said while stressing that they were used without their knowledge during the armed mutiny.

The President noted that the organizers of the mutiny in Russia betrayed the country and those who followed them and “an armed rebellion would have been suppressed in any case.”

He proposed the soldiers of the Wagner group to sign a contract with the country’s Defence Ministry, return home or go to Belarus.

Meanwhile, Putin thanked all Russian servicemen, law enforcement officers and special services who prevented the mutiny.

“I thank all our servicemen, law enforcement officers, and special services who stood in the way of the rebels. You have remained faithful to your duty, and the people,” Putin said.

He also thanked Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for his mediating role in resolving the attempted mutiny.

Russia’s National Anti-terrorism Committee announced on Saturday that a counter-terrorist operation regime was introduced in Moscow city, the Moscow region and the Voronezh region to prevent possible terrorist acts after the Wagner private military group was accused of trying to organise an armed rebellion.

However, according to local reports, Moscow and Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner private military group, later reached a compromise through the mediation of Lukashenko.

Russia’s National Anti-terrorism Committee declared on Monday that the legal regime of the counter-terrorist operation had been cancelled in Moscow, the Moscow region and Voronezh region due to the normalisation of the situation.

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