Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the chief of the Russian Wagner mercenary group that staged a short-lived mutiny in opposition to the navy prime brass in June, was listed on the passenger manifest of a non-public airplane that crashed exterior Moscow on Wednesday, killing all 10 folks on board. The Russian authorities haven’t confirmed his loss of life.
In the future after the crash, right here’s what to know.
The airplane that listed Mr. Prigozhin as a passenger left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Wednesday at about 6 p.m. native time, sure for St. Petersburg. It crashed in a wooded space close to the village of Kuzhenkino, in Tver area, lower than 100 miles northwest of Moscow.
RIA Novosti, the Russian state media company, later that day posted an unconfirmed video that appeared to point out a airplane that was uncontrolled and falling nearly vertically from the sky, trailed by a cloud of pale grey smoke. The shaky video, which seems to have been shot from a cellphone, didn’t present the airplane’s influence.
Video footage shared on the Telegram messaging app appeared to point out the plane, an Embraer Legacy 600 enterprise jet, burning on the bottom. The paint and a partial registration quantity, RA-02795, seen on the plane match a jet that Mr. Prigozhin is thought to make use of.
Emergency staff have been on the crash web site on Thursday, and pictures revealed by Russian and worldwide media confirmed components of the airplane, together with a bit of a blue wing or tail fin.
Russia’s aviation authority provided no touch upon the explanation for the crash, and introduced that it had created a particular fee to research “the circumstances and causes of the accident.”
Who was on board?
The flight’s passenger manifest, launched by Russian authorities, listed 10 folks on board. The seven passengers listed included Mr. Prighozin and Wagner’s top commander, Dmitri Utkin. It additionally listed three crew members. Russia’s aviation authorities mentioned that everybody on board had been killed.
Was Mr. Prigozhin killed?
Gray Zone, a Telegram account related to the Wagner group, mentioned that Mr. Prighozin was lifeless. However there was no official affirmation of his destiny from Wagner or the Russian authorities.
A senior Western intelligence official mentioned that Prigozhin was on board the airplane that crashed. The official, talking on situation of anonymity to debate confidential intelligence assessments, mentioned the judgment was primarily based on “many indicators” that his authorities had evaluated. American officers mentioned they may not verify Mr. Prigozhin had been killed within the airplane crash, or why the jet went down.
What has the Kremlin mentioned?
There was no remark from the Kremlin on the crash or on Mr. Prigozhin’s destiny. In his solely public feedback since Wednesday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia delivered transient remarks by video hyperlink to a summit of BRICS nations going down in South Africa on Thursday. He made no point out of the newest occasions in Russia or Ukraine.
Who’s Mr. Prigozhin?
Rising from jail because the Soviet Union was collapsing, Mr. Prigozhin started his post-criminal profession promoting scorching canine on road corners in St. Petersburg, Russia. There, he befriended Mr. Putin, who was then a minor official within the metropolis authorities.
Mr. Prighozin went on to make a fortune within the catering enterprise, benefiting from his ongoing friendship with Mr. Putin, even incomes the nickname “Putin’s chef” due to his catering contracts with the Kremlin and Russian navy.
From there, Mr. Prigozhin’s benefactor assigned him a number of more important tasks that have been greatest dealt with at arm’s size from the Kremlin. He went on to construct the non-public navy pressure Wagner, which performed a key function in preventing in Ukraine, notably within the battle for the jap metropolis of Bakhmut, maybe the bloodiest of the warfare. Wagner forces additionally fought in Syria and Libya, and performed a key paramilitary function supporting governments in African nations together with Mali and the Central African Republic, and gaining a reputation for brutality.
After months of more and more caustic criticism of the Russian navy management’s marketing campaign in Ukraine, Mr. Prighozhin led a short-lived revolt in opposition to the highest brass in June. The transient mutiny, probably the most dramatic and public problem to Mr. Putin’s rule in a long time, was defused, a deal was introduced by the Kremlin to finish hostilities, and Wagner forces have been allowed to both join with the Russian navy or transfer to Belarus, an in depth Russian ally.
Since then Mr. Prighozin, who had beforehand maintained a extremely seen presence on social media, had largely gone silent till he re-emerged in what appeared to be a Wagner recruitment video days earlier than the airplane crash.