Russian investigators have confirmed that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the Wagner mercenary group, was among the 10 people killed in a plane crash last week. The names of all 10 individuals on board the private jet, including Prigozhin and his right-hand man Dmitry Utkin, had been previously published by Russia’s aviation agency. The identities of the deceased were established through genetic tests, according to a statement from Russia’s Investigative Committee. There had been speculation about whether Prigozhin was on the flight, given his security precautions. The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.
The plane crash occurred two months after Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenaries staged a mutiny against Russian military commanders. They took control of Rostov, a southern city, and advanced towards Moscow before turning back. Russian President Vladimir Putin referred to the mutiny as a treacherous “stab in the back” but later met with Prigozhin in the Kremlin. Putin expressed his condolences to the families of those believed to have died in the crash. Western politicians and commentators have suggested that Putin ordered Prigozhin’s killing as punishment for the mutiny, although the Kremlin denies these claims.
Wagner fighters played a significant role in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, particularly in the siege of Bakhmut. Despite Prigozhin’s criticisms of Russia’s military high command, the Wagner fighters have left Ukraine and some have relocated to Belarus under a deal that ended the mutiny. Some fighters may join Russia’s armed forces, but many will be upset by the loss of their founder, who commanded great loyalty. Putin described Prigozhin as a talented businessman but also acknowledged his mistakes in life.
In conclusion, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death in the plane crash has been confirmed by genetic tests conducted by Russian investigators. The crash occurred after Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenaries staged a mutiny, which Putin described as a betrayal. The Wagner fighters have since left Ukraine and some have moved to Belarus. The cause of the crash is still unknown.
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