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Putin Denies Russian Involvement in Death of Yevgeny Prigozhin



Russian President Vladimir Putin has formally announced the demise of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a notable leader in the field of mercenaries, due to an airplane crash.

The passing of Prigozhin transpired a mere two months subsequent to his orchestration of an insurrection against the top brass of Russia’s armed forces. This mutiny had triggered domestic strife of such magnitude that Putin highlighted its potential to escalate into a full-blown civil conflict.

Putin’s Condolences After a period of official silence, Putin finally spoke on Thursday, expressing his condolences to Prigozhin’s family.

  • Labeling him as a “talented businessman” known since the 1990s, Putin provided the first government-confirmed information regarding Prigozhin’s demise.
  • Earlier, only the aviation authority had indicated Prigozhin was on board the crashed plane.

U.S. Intelligence Chimes In In Washington, anonymous U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal that a surface-to-air missile originating from Russia is suspected to have caused the crash.

  • The officials emphasized that this information remains preliminary and under review, offering no concrete evidence to support the claim.

Criminal Investigation in Moscow Russian authorities have initiated a criminal probe into the incident, which occurred on Wednesday evening near the village of Kuzhenkino, north of Moscow.

  • Although no official statements regarding the crash’s cause have been released, local news outlet Baza reports that the presence of one or two bombs on board is also being considered as a potential cause.

A Man of Many Controversies Prigozhin, aged 62, headed the Wagner mercenary group and had been a vocal critic of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine.

  • He had instigated a mutiny against the top brass of the Russian army in June, an act Putin stated could have ushered Russia into civil conflict.
  • Following the failed mutiny, Prigozhin had agreed to relocate to Belarus but seemed to move freely within Russian borders thereafter. Interestingly, a video he posted on Monday suggested he was in Africa at the time.

Underplayed by State Media Despite the gravity of the incident and Prigozhin’s significant profile, Russian state media has provided minimal coverage, further shrouding the circumstances of his death in mystery.

  • The Embraer Legacy 600 executive jet carrying Prigozhin and other senior members of his team crashed with no survivors. A Reuters reporter at the scene observed the grim sight of men carrying away body bags.