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Vladimir Putin has said the Wagner group refused his offer to continue fighting in Ukraine under their regular commander, indicating the paramilitaries will no longer take part in Russia’s invasion of the country.

Putin told Russian newspaper Kommersant on Thursday that he had offered Wagner “several employment options”.

The deal, according to Putin, would have had the Wagner fighters remain under a senior commander, Andrei Trochev, who has de facto led the group’s efforts in Ukraine. 

Many of the 35 men present “nodded their heads, when I said that,” Putin said, “but Prigozhin, who was sat in front of them and didn’t see that, heard me out and said: ‘No, the guys don’t agree with that decision.’”

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