Yevgeny Prigozhin on plane that has crashed near Moscow, says Russia

Russia officials say Wagner chief behind June mutiny was on jet that crashed near Moscow killing all 10 onboard.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner paramilitary chief who launched an armed mutiny in June against the Kremlin from Ukraine, was traveling on a private jet that crashed near Moscow, killing all 10 onboard, Russian officials have said.

Rosaviatsia, the Russian aviation authority, said Prigozhin was one of the passengers listed as being on board the business jet that crashed on Wednesday evening.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. Prigozhin’s longstanding feud with the military and the armed uprising he led in June would give Russia motive for revenge.

Media channels linked to Wagner suggested that a Russian air defense missile had shot down the plane.

The jet crashed in the Tver region while flying between Moscow and St Petersburg. Video posted to the internet apparently showed the small jet trailing a plume of smoke before crashing into the ground and erupting in flames.

The jet has been under US sanctions since 2019 because of its connection to Prigozhin.

Prigozhin released a video earlier this week in which he claimed to be in Africa, where his mercenaries have relocated since the abortive uprising. It was unclear when it was taken and if he had returned to Russia since it was shot.

Prigozhin, an ally of Vladimir Putin’s who amassed a fortune from state contracts, later went on to establish troll factories and a paramilitary army that became an important extension of Russian power abroad.

His Wagner group  in Ukraine had his troops, including tens of thousands of convicts recruited from prisons and played a key role in the fight for Bakhmut.

But he also had a longstanding conflict with the top brass of the defense ministry.


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