The head of the Wagner private military group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is highly likely to have passed away in a plane crash near Moscow, as indicated in a statement from the UK Government.
According to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), although concrete proof of Prigozhin’s presence on the crashed plane is yet to be established, the prevailing circumstances strongly indicate his demise.
The plane crash, which occurred on August 23, 2023, involved an Embraer business jet linked to the Wagner Group and took place near Tver, between Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Russian authorities reported that all ten individuals on the aircraft, including Yevgeny Prigozhin, lost their lives in the accident.
While conclusive evidence of Prigozhin’s presence on the plane is lacking due to his known stringent security practices, the general belief is that he has indeed perished.
The potential confirmation of Prigozhin’s death, according to the MoD, could disrupt the operations of the private military organization to a significant extent.
The reported deaths of other prominent figures within the Wagner Group, like second-in-command Dimitry Utkin and logistics chief Valery Chekalov, would exacerbate the leadership vacuum, possibly leading to instability within the group.
While speculation is rife, no concrete evidence has emerged to validate claims that Prigozhin’s demise was a retaliatory measure for his involvement in a brief uprising in June that challenged the authority of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The rebellion had stemmed from dissatisfaction with the treatment of his fighters in Ukraine.
President Putin, after a day of silence, extended condolences to the families of the crash victims. He referred to Prigozhin as a “skilled entrepreneur” who, nevertheless, had made significant errors in his life.
The relationship between Putin and Prigozhin had deteriorated following the Wagner Group leader’s failed rebellion against Moscow’s military leadership.
The causes of the crash remain uncertain. The US Department of Defence clarified that there is no current evidence suggesting that the aircraft was brought down by a surface-to-air missile.
Reports indicate that US officials are examining various potential reasons for the crash, including the possibility of an onboard explosive device.
The apparent demise of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner Group’s leader, and the circumstances surrounding the plane crash have garnered significant attention.
As the situation continues to unfold, the implications for the future of the Wagner Group and its connections to Russian political dynamics remain subjects of intense scrutiny and discussion.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn