Putin says Prigozhin was a ‘proficient’ one who made ‘critical errors’ however achieved the correct outcomes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed condolences over the aircraft crash that presumably killed Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Crash investigators have nonetheless to conclusively determine the stays of the ten folks believed to have died in Wednesday’s disaster northwest of Moscow, and Putin stated the examination would take time.
“As for the aviation tragedy, to start with, I wish to categorical my most honest condolences to the households of all of the victims. It’s all the time a tragedy,” Putin stated in televised remarks on Thursday.
“I knew Prigozhin for a really very long time, because the early ’90s. He was a person of sophisticated destiny, and he made critical errors in his life, however he achieved the correct outcomes,” Putin added.
He talked about Prigozhin’s work in Africa, the place Prigozhin claimed to be earlier within the week and the place the Wagner group maintains a big army presence.
“He [Prigozhin] was a proficient individual, a proficient businessman, he labored not solely in our nation, and achieved outcomes, but in addition overseas, notably in Africa. He was concerned there with oil, fuel, treasured metals and stones,” Putin stated.
Putin stated that if it had been confirmed that Wagner members had died within the crash, as preliminary information signifies, then would “like to notice that these folks made a big contribution” to Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine and shared a “frequent trigger”.
Authorities stated that amongst these listed as passengers on the aircraft was Dmitry Utkin, a shadowy determine who managed Wagner’s operations and allegedly served in Russian army intelligence.
Reporting from Moscow, journalist Daniel Hawkins instructed Al Jazeera that investigators have been interviewing folks, safety digital camera footage and dealing on the website. They’ve additionally been “varied theories as to how this plane got here down”.
“Predominantly, the idea Russian media has been discussing is a few kind of explosion on board, probably some kind of explosive gadget within the chassis of the plane which broke off the plane’s wing,” he stated.
The crash occurred precisely two months after Prigozhin led a mutiny towards Russia’s military management, an act of riot that Putin on the time condemned as a treacherous “stab within the again”.
However the revolt was rapidly defused with a deal. The Kremlin stated that with the intention to avert bloodshed, Prigozhin and a few of his fighters would go away for Belarus and a felony case towards him for armed mutiny can be dropped.
For weeks, confusion surrounded the implementation of the deal, the standing of Prigozhin and his whereabouts. The Kremlin stated he attended a gathering with Putin 5 days after the mutiny.
On July 5, state TV stated an investigation towards him was nonetheless being pursued, and broadcast footage confirmed money, passports, weapons and different objects it stated had been seized in a raid on considered one of his properties.
Two weeks later, a video appeared to point out Prigozhin welcoming his fighters to Belarus. On the finish of the month, he was photographed in St Petersburg whereas a Russia-Africa summit was happening within the metropolis.