Putin speaks at event marking anniversary of Battle of Kursk
The Kremlin has called on Wagner Group troops to swear an oath of allegiance to Russia following the death of their leader.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an Executive Order on Friday calling for members of the Wagner Group, a private military firm that assists Moscow’s war efforts, to swear an oath of allegiance to the Russian state.
The order reads: “The Executive Order has been signed with the view to shaping spiritual and moral foundations for defending the Russian Federation, its independence and Constitution.
“Under the executive order, the oath to the State Flag of the Russian Federation shall be administered to people joining volunteer units and other persons contributing to fulfilling the objectives of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, as well as other troops, military units and bodies as per the Federal Law On Defence, and taking part in the special military operation;
“Those employed by state enterprises established as per the law setting forth a special legal framework regulating the circulation of arms and security; and persons involved in territorial defence.
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READ MORE ‘Vengeful little Putin’ is ‘glad’ Wagner leader is dead, says Ukraine army major
“The executive order contains the text of the oath.”
It comes after Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin allegedly died in a plane crash earlier this week.
Prigozhin was reportedly listed as one of ten passengers on the private jet that plunged into the Earth on its journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
The crash killed all 10 passengers, including several high-profile members of Wagner.
Since Prigozhin’s disappearance earlier this week, speculation that Wagner could collapse has mounted.
Ukrainian Army Major Vitor Trugebov told Daily Express US: “If it is not staged, it could be coincidence (highly unlikely) or assassination (very likely). If it’s assassination, it’s like telling all the Russians ‘this is what happens if you try to move tanks to Moscow.”
“In any case, it is the end of Wagner project.’
Meanwhile, a number of alleged Wagner Group members have taken to Telegram to vent their fears about the future of the mercenary group.
A Russian military blogger purported to be a Wagner Group member wrote on Telegram: “It is not yet clear whether Hero of Russia Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin was on board, but if he was, then pack your things, and f*** this whole war we DO NOT NEED.”
Prigozhin founded Wagner in 2014 and was exiled to Belarus following the attempted mutiny earlier this summer.
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The private military group mounted a short-lived armed mutiny against Russia’s military leadership in late June after repeatedly bashing the Kremlin for its conflict strategy.
According to Dr Joana de Deus Pereira, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), Prigozhin’s alleged death will warrant a “certain revamping” of the organisation.
She told the BBC’s World Tonight programme: “The organisation will persist in the future probably with another name, but it has already proved it has the capacity to adapt and to morph.
“We have to look at Wagner not only as a single man but as an ecosystem, as a hydra with many many heads and many diverse interests in Africa.”
Prigozhin appeared in his first video address since his failed coup just one day before his death which suggested he was in Africa, where Wagner is believed to have thousands of fighters stationed.
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