Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin is a Russian oligarch, mercenary leader, and former close confidant of Russian president Vladimir Putin until he launched a rebellion in June 2023.
All ten persons on board a private jet were killed when it crashed over Russia on Wednesday, according to rescue personnel. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenaries, was listed as a passenger, although it wasn’t immediately known if he was actually traveling.
Unverified media sources claimed that Prigozhin, the man behind Wagner Private Military, owned the jet.
Dmitry Utkin, who is thought to have played a significant role as a co-founder and top commander within the Wagner mercenary group, was included alongside Prigozhin’s name.
On board were three crew members and five additional passengers. Rosaviatsia did not provide the names of the verified deceased.
The mercenary leader’s body was allegedly discovered in the plane wreckage, according to the Wagner-affiliated Grey Zone Telegram channel. However, this information could not be confirmed, and Prigzohin’s condition and whereabouts are still unclear.
Igor Rudenya, the governor of the Tver area, has taken “personal control” of the response to the plane crash, according to his press department, which also noted that the aircraft was a civil one.
According to RIA Novosti, the Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal inquiry into the functioning of the airline and violations of traffic safety regulations following the crash.
The Grey Zone Telegram channel reported that the Russian military’s air defense systems had shot down the plane, but this information could not be confirmed.
According to a Russian government official who spoke to The Moscow Times under the condition of anonymity, neither the crash’s existence nor its location could have been a coincidence.
In addition to his alleged involvement in election meddling, Prigozhin has long been recognized as the creator of the Wagner Group, an infamous mercenary group that served the Kremlin’s interests in a number of international conflicts. He first became involved with Putin through his catering company, which is how the Western media referred to him as “Putin’s chef.”
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