| 21 June 2024, Friday |

Wagner chief Prigozhin killed in plane crash near Moscow

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, has been reported as deceased by a Telegram channel associated with the organization on Wednesday.
“The head of the Wagner Group, a Hero of Russia, a true patriot of his Motherland – Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin died as a result of the actions of traitors to Russia,” a post in the Grey Zone channel said.

“But even in Hell, he will be the best! Glory to Russia!”

Wagner commander Dmitry Utkin was also on the plane, Russian civil aviation authority Rosaviatsia said.

An investigation has been launched into an Embraer plane crash that occurred tonight in the Tver region.

Russia’s emergency situations ministry said in a statement that a private Embraer Legacy aircraft travelling from Moscow to St. Petersburg had crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino in the Tver Region.

It said that 10 people had been on board, including three crew members. There were no survivors.

Prigozhin, 62, spearheaded a mutiny against Russia’s top army brass on June 23-24 which President Vladimir Putin said could have tipped Russia into civil war.

The mutiny was ended by negotiations and an apparent Kremlin deal which saw Prigozhin agree to relocate to neighboring Belarus. But he had appeared to move freely inside Russia after the deal nonetheless.

Prigozhin, who had sought to topple Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff, on Monday posted a video address which he suggested was shot in Africa.

A senior aide to the Ukrainian presidency said that the crash of a plane on which Wagner chief Prigozhin was registered to fly was a signal from the Kremlin.

“The demonstrative elimination of Prigozhin and the Wagner command two months after the coup attempt is a signal from Putin to Russia’s elites ahead of the 2024 elections. ‘Beware! Disloyalty equals death’,” Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak wrote on social media.

  • alarabiya