Russian investigators confirmed that Wagner is the chief Yevgeny Prigozhin He was among the 10 people who died when their plane crashed Wednesday, after undergoing genetic tests.
Prigozhin, who led a failed uprising against the Kremlin, was previously named as one of the passengers on the private jet that crashed in a field northwest of Moscow on its way to St Petersburg, but authorities have stopped short of confirming it yet. he died.
“As part of the investigation into the plane crash in the Tver region, molecular genetic tests have been completed,” said a statement posted on the Telegram channel of the Russian Investigative Committee.
“According to their findings, the identities of all 10 dead have been identified, and they correspond to the list mentioned in the flight sheet,” she added.
Dmitry Utkin, a trusted lieutenant of Prigozhin since the beginning of the Wagner Group, and Valery Chekalov, a top lieutenant of Prigozhin, were also killed. Three crew members died.
Prigozhin’s obscure lifestyle and use of security precautions fueled rumors that he was not on the plane. And at a makeshift memorial for him in St Petersburg this week, CNN found a couple who believe Prigozhin’s death was staged to allow Wagner’s boss to be deployed on other missions for Russia.
The incident came two months to the day after Prigozhin’s attempt to rebel against the Russian military leadership.
Once an elusive figure, Prigozhin rose to fame after his Wagner Group scored some rare battlefield successes for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. But he became a staunch critic of the Russian campaign and its leadership.
In June, Prigozhin and his forces from the Wagner Group captured key military positions and marched on Moscow, where the Kremlin deployed heavily armed troops to the streets. But before they could confront, an agreement was reached that ended the rebellion and sent Prigozhin and his fighters to neighboring Belarus.
It was the biggest challenge for Rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin At 23 years old. She also painted a target on Prigozhin’s back, as some experts speculated that the warlord was a walking dead man.
It is not yet clear what caused the accident, but US and Western intelligence officials who spoke to CNN believe that the accident was deliberate. US President Joe Biden suggested on Wednesday that Putin may have been involved. “I don’t know for sure what happened, but I’m not surprised,” he said.
So far, no evidence has been presented implicating the Kremlin or the Russian security services in the incident. The cause of the accident is still unknown, and the Russian authorities have opened a criminal investigation.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied allegations that the Kremlin may have been involved in the incident, calling the speculation an “absolute lie”.
In his first comment on the incident, Putin described Prigozhin as “talented” but said he had made “grave mistakes in life”. The two have known each other since the early 1990s when they both escalated their influence after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russia now appears to be trying to rein in groups such as Wagner, as Putin signed a decree ordering paramilitary fighters to swear an oath to the state.
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