US and Western sources believe that the explosion that is believed to have caused the jet crash that claimed the life of Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was purposeful.
Officials said that an explosion took down the jet according to a preliminary Washington intelligence assessment, but they gave no additional information on what caused the blast.
On condition of anonymity, one of the officials told the Associated Press on Thursday evening that the explosion is consistent with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “long history of trying to silence his critics.”
The White House chose not to respond.
As Putin offered his condolences to the families of the 10 victims on board the private jet that crashed on Wednesday shortly after takeoff from Moscow, information about the US assessment came to light.
In a televised speech, he called Prigozhin a “talented businessman,” but claimed that he had “made serious mistakes.”
Putin stated that although more information on the tragedy would take time, Russia will look at what the investigators say on the crash.
The president claimed the Wagner group, led by Prigozhin, “made a significant contribution” during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
We keep this in mind and won’t forget it.
I have known Prigozhin since the early 1900s.
He had a challenging life and made terrible mistakes.
But when I asked him, like in the last few months, he produced results – for himself as well as for the general good.
He made them 24 hours after the plane went down near Moscow.
According to some Western experts, Putin may have ordered the death of Prigozhin after he recently led a mutiny against the Russian military.
There is not much that occurs in Russia that Putin is not involved in, according to US Vice President Joe Biden, and former MI6 director Sir John Sawers today said that Putin may have ordered the attack.
All signs suggest that Putin has killed him, according to Sir John.
“Putin is making it abundantly clear to everyone, both inside and outside of Russia, that he’s not going to brook any challenge,” Sir John added.
“I would have assumed there was some kind of device on board that abruptly brought the jet down and killed everyone inside.
It served as a method of eliminating the entire Wagner leadership at once.
The BBC Monitoring’s Russia editor, Vitaly Shevkenko, said he had “seen a number of video clips filmed by eyewitnesses who said that they had heard two explosions and they drew the conclusion that the aircraft had been shot out of the sky.”
Reports have suggested that two surface-to-air missiles may have been used to bring Prigozhin’s plane down.
Under the condition of anonymity, two US officials had stated that the plane was probably shot down by a surface-to-air missile that came from within Russia.
According to information published today, the FSB security service of Russia was most certainly responsible for Prigozhin’s demise.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, said earlier that although his nation was not directly responsible for the disaster, “everybody knows who has something to do with it.”
The Wagner CEO and his right-hand man Dmitry Utkin were aboard the jet when it went down on Wednesday shortly after takeoff from Moscow, according to the Russian civil aviation authorities.
Two months after staging a mutiny that undermined Putin’s power, they are both assumed dead along with the other eight passengers, according to Russian media.
According to Russia’s civil aviation bureau, the business jet with a crew of three was carrying Mr. Prigozhin and six top lieutenants when it crashed.
Rescuers discovered 10 bodies, and anonymous Wagner sources told Russian media that Prigozhin had passed away.
No official confirmation has been made.
On Thursday, Zelensky stated: “We had nothing to do with anything.
Everyone is aware of the parties involved.
He also seemed to be making reference to his ongoing appeals for warplanes from his allies in the West to support Ukraine’s military operations against the Russian invasion.
On Thursday, Zelensky stated: “We didn’t mean this when Ukraine approached the world about planes.
We needed assistance because we had something quite different in mind.
However, perhaps even this will be of some assistance.
As part of a coordinated operation with the Netherlands and Denmark, Norway has declared it will give Ukraine F-16 combat aircraft built in the United States.
During a visit to Kyiv on Thursday, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere announced the donation.
Ukraine has long wanted F-16s due of their destructive capabilities and accessibility worldwide.
The fighter plane has a 20mm cannon and can transport missiles, rockets, and bombs.
Investigators examined the jet’s wreckage on Thursday while police surrounded the field where it crashed in Kuzhenkino, approximately 185 miles northwest of Moscow.
The bodies were removed by vehicles.
Why multiple senior Wagner officials, including top commanders who are generally cautious about their security, were on the same trip was unclear.
A makeshift memorial for Prigozhin was constructed outside the Wagner offices in St. Petersburg with red and white flowers, business flags, and candles.
Large cross-shaped lights were turned on.
While speaking via video link to the BRICS conference in Johannesburg earlier, Putin kept mum on the tragedy.
On Thursday, Ukraine celebrated its second Independence Day since Russia’s extensive invasion, with government representatives pledging to continue the struggle to drive out the Kremlin’s forces and locals honouring their lost loved ones.
The 18-month mark of the conflict fell on the national holiday, which gave the commemorations a solemn tone.
In a post on social media, Mr. Zelensky stated, “We remember everyone who gave their life for freedom and independence, for the free future of Ukraine.”
He declared that “what we are fighting for” is an independent Ukraine.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn