Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the chief of the Russian Wagner mercenary group that staged a short-lived mutiny towards the navy prime brass in June, was listed on the passenger manifest of a personal aircraft that crashed outdoors Moscow on Wednesday, killing all 10 individuals on board. The Russian authorities haven’t confirmed his dying, however at the least one Western intelligence official, a number of Russian navy bloggers and a Telegram account linked to his group mentioned he had been killed.
The aircraft that listed Mr. Prigozhin as a passenger left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Wednesday at about 6 p.m. native time, certain for St. Petersburg. It crashed in a wooded space close to the village of Kuzhenkino, within the Tver area, lower than 100 miles northwest of Moscow.
RIA Novosti, the Russian state media company, later that day posted an unconfirmed video that appeared to indicate a aircraft that was uncontrolled and falling virtually vertically from the sky, trailed by a cloud of pale grey smoke. The shaky video, which seems to have been shot from a cellphone, didn’t present the aircraft’s impression.
Video footage shared on the Telegram messaging app appeared to indicate the plane, an Embraer Legacy 600 enterprise jet, burning on the bottom. The paint and a partial registration quantity, RA-02795, seen on the plane match a jet that Mr. Prigozhin is thought to make use of.
Emergency employees have been on the crash website on Thursday, and pictures printed by Russian and worldwide media retailers confirmed components of the aircraft, together with a bit of a blue wing or tail fin.
Russia’s aviation authority supplied no touch upon the rationale for the crash, and introduced that it had created a particular fee to analyze “the circumstances and causes of the accident.”
Who was on board?
The flight’s passenger manifest, launched by the Russian authorities, listed 10 individuals on board. The seven passengers listed included Mr. Prigozhin and Wagner’s prime commander, Dmitri Utkin. It additionally listed three crew members. Russia’s aviation authorities mentioned that everybody on board had been killed.
Was Mr. Prigozhin killed?
Gray Zone, a Telegram account related to the Wagner group, mentioned that Mr. Prigozhin was lifeless. However there was no official affirmation of his destiny from Wagner or the Russian authorities.
A senior Western intelligence official mentioned that Mr. Prigozhin was on board the aircraft. The official, talking on the situation of anonymity to debate confidential intelligence assessments, mentioned the judgment was primarily based on “many indicators” that his authorities had evaluated. American officers mentioned they may not verify that Mr. Prigozhin had been killed within the aircraft crash, or why the jet went down.
What has the Kremlin mentioned?
There was no remark from the Kremlin on the crash or on Mr. Prigozhin’s destiny. In his solely public feedback since Wednesday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia delivered transient remarks by video hyperlink to a summit of BRICS nations going down in South Africa on Thursday. He made no point out of the newest occasions in Russia or Ukraine. Russia’s overseas minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, didn’t touch upon the crash at a information convention in Johannesburg.
Who’s Mr. Prigozhin?
Rising from jail because the Soviet Union was collapsing, Mr. Prigozhin started his post-criminal profession promoting sizzling canines on avenue corners in St. Petersburg. There, he befriended Mr. Putin, who was then a minor official within the metropolis authorities.
Mr. Prigozhin went on to make a fortune within the catering enterprise, benefiting from his persevering with friendship with Mr. Putin, even incomes the nickname “Putin’s chef” due to his catering contracts with the Kremlin and Russian navy.
From there, Mr. Prigozhin’s benefactor assigned him plenty of extra necessary duties that have been greatest dealt with at arm’s size from the Kremlin. He went on to construct the personal navy power Wagner, which performed a key function in preventing in Ukraine, significantly within the battle for the jap metropolis of Bakhmut, maybe the bloodiest of the struggle. Wagner forces additionally fought in Syria and Libya, and performed a key paramilitary function supporting governments in African international locations together with Mali and the Central African Republic, and gaining a status for brutality.
After months of more and more caustic criticism of the Russian navy management’s marketing campaign in Ukraine, Mr. Prigozhin led a short-lived revolt towards the highest brass in June. The transient mutiny, essentially the most dramatic and public problem to Mr. Putin’s rule in a long time, was defused, a deal was introduced by the Kremlin to finish hostilities, and Wagner forces have been allowed to both join with the Russian navy or transfer to Belarus, a detailed Russian ally.
Since then Mr. Prigozhin, who had beforehand maintained a extremely seen presence on social media, had largely gone silent till he re-emerged in what seemed to be a Wagner recruitment video days earlier than the aircraft crash.