Wagner Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Confirmed Demise
Russian authorities have officially confirmed the death of Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. This confirmation follows genetic analysis of the bodies retrieved from the plane crash that occurred on Wednesday. The fatal incident unfolded near Moscow and tragically led to the loss of all passengers on board Prigozhin’s private jet.
Investigative Committee Identifies Victims
The Investigative Committee (SK) has successfully identified all 10 victims of the plane crash, and their identities align with those listed on the flight’s passenger roster. The committee’s ongoing criminal investigation has included “molecular-genetic testing,” which has been completed. The results have confirmed the identities of the deceased individuals, corroborating the information published in the flight manifest.
Kremlin Denies Responsibility and Ongoing Inquiry
Despite speculation, the Kremlin has vehemently denied any responsibility for the crash. Dismissing conjecture surrounding its involvement, the Kremlin’s position remains steadfast. Meanwhile, the Investigative Committee continues its criminal inquiry into the incident. The completion of “molecular-genetic testing” marks a significant step in the investigation process.
Wagner’s Prominent Members Among Casualties
The casualties of the crash include prominent members of Wagner, a Russian mercenary group initially established by Prigozhin. This group has been involved in military operations across various regions, including Ukraine, Syria, and parts of Africa. Among the victims was Dmitry Utkin, who held the position of Wagner’s military operations manager.
Victim Identities and Aircraft Details
The individuals on the ill-fated Embraer Legacy aircraft, which was en route from Moscow to St Petersburg, are as follows: Valery Chekalov, Sergei Propustin, Yevgeny Makaryan, Alexander Totmin, Nikolay Matuseyev, pilot Alexei Levshin, co-pilot Rustam Karimov, and flight attendant Kristina Raspopova.
Consequences of Wagner Rebellion
The plane crash comes in the aftermath of Prigozhin’s leadership in a Wagner rebellion against the Russian armed forces. This rebellion led to the capture of the city of Rostov and subsequent threats to march on Moscow. The situation was ultimately resolved through negotiations, prompting Prigozhin and Wagner fighters to relocate to Belarus. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin characterized the mutiny as a betrayal. Suspicions have arisen regarding the potential involvement of Russian security forces in the plane crash.
Likely Cause of the Crash and International Response
Citing information from US officials, the most probable cause of the crash is believed to be an explosion on board the plane. The Pentagon has stated that Prigozhin was likely killed as a result. Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has categorically dismissed rumors of foul play as unsubstantiated. In the wake of the tragedy, President Putin conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims. Despite acknowledging Prigozhin’s talents, Putin also recognized the significant mistakes made by him during his lifetime.
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