Update – Wagner Chief Confirmed DEAD among Passengers on Crashed Plane in Russia

Update – Wagner Chief Confirmed DEAD among Passengers on Crashed Plane in Russia

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UPDATE ON AUGUST 27 –  1 PM CET

VERSIONE IN ITALIANO

Wagner Group mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has been confirmed dead after genetic analysis of the bodies from last week’s plane crash, Russian officials said Sunday.

After “molecular genetic examinations,” were completed, “the identities of all 10 dead were established” and “they correspond to the list stated in the flight sheet,” of the aircraft that went down Wednesday north of Moscow, the Russian investigative committee said in a statement on Telegram.

UPDATE ON AUGUST 24 –  6 PM CET

The Russian president described Wagner chief as “a talented man”

Yevgeny Prigozhin was a man of many talents who made a “significant contribution” to the struggle against neo-Nazis in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, commenting on the plane crash that reportedly killed the Wagner Group head.

Speaking with journalists at the Kremlin, Putin said that he had known Prigozhin since the early 1990s, and described him as “a man of complicated destiny.”

“He’d made serious mistakes in his life, but also got results. For himself as well as our common cause, when I asked it of him in these last months,” Putin added. He described Prigozhin as “a talented businessman” who worked in Russia as well as in Africa dealing with oil, gas, precious metals and gems.

FILE PHOTO: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (left) visits Concord food plant in the village of Yanino. Right – General Director of Concord’s culinary line Yevgeny Prigozhin. © Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin

The Russian president described Prigozhin as “a talented businessman” who worked in Russia as well as in Africa, dealing with oil, gas, precious metals and gems. Putin said Prigozhin had apparently just returned from Africa on Wednesday, and had met with some Russian officials.

Prigozhin was on the passenger manifest of the Embraer private jet that crashed on Wednesday in the Tver Region, en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg. All seven passengers and three crew members perished. Authorities are still working to identify the bodies, but Prigozhin is presumed to be among them, along with six other Wagner officials.

Putin expressed his sincere condolences to their families and vowed that the investigation into the crash will be thorough.

Lavrov urges to be guided by facts rather than Western media statements

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged to be guided by facts rather than Western media statements on the issue of the crash of the plane belonging to Wagner PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, according to TASS Russian News Agency.

“I have not followed what they have written, said and shown on this issue, and it is very difficult for me to make any comments from here. We’ve immediately launched an investigation, a case was opened, investigators are working. I would suggest to focus on the facts, not on what the Western media say,” the top Russian diplomat told the “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” program on the Rossiya-1 TV channel, according to a fragment posted by journalist Pavel Zarubin on his Telegram channel.


UPDATE ON AUGUST 24 – 9 AM CET

The Comments of Wagner’s Telegram Group

Also on the GrEy Zone channel of Telegram, close to the Wagner group, confirmation of the death of their leader Yevgeny Prigozhin seems to arrive. In fact, a photo of him in an elegant suit is posted under which we read:

“The head of the” Wagner Group “, the Hero of Russia, a true patriot of the country of him-Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin died as a result of the actions of Russian traitors. But even in Hell he will be the best! Glory to Russia!”.

And while the world waits for the official news of Prigozhin’s death, the lights are turned on in the Wagner Group offices in St. Petersburg to form a particular composition, as a cross, that seems to be a confirmation.

The headquarters of Wagner Group in St. Petersburg

Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made no mention of the affair on the sidelines of the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Kursk in World War II, on which occasion he thanked “all our soldiers who fight with courage and determination ” in the special military operation in Ukraine.

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, said he was “not surprised” after news of the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Russian paramilitary Wagner company, following the crash of the plane he was traveling on in the Tver region. Speaking to reporters in tow, Biden said he “didn’t know for sure what happened, but I’m not surprised.”

When asked about the possible involvement of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in the incident, Biden said that “not much happens in Russia without Putin being aware of it, but at the moment we cannot give a definite answer to this question”.

Doubts about Prigozhin’s Death

Meanwhile, doubts about the accident and its causes abound. The first question that can be asked is very disturbing: was the leader of the Russian mercenaries really on that flight or was he recorded only to make him disappear from the world scene and save his life without dishonor after his mutiny against Russian President Vladimir Putin, of Who was the ‘cook’ as the Kremlin’s head of special events catering before taking command of Wagner?

Elena Kostioukovich, author of the book ‘In the mind of Vladimir Putin’, recalls on Italian Newspaper the mystery of the second plane owned by the mercenary and landed unharmed in Moscow. “We must not forget – she explains – that Prigozhin used to always travel with some of his doubles, also equipped with suitably falsified documents”.

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The leader of Wagner could be “in Africa, where he was until a few days ago” so as to lead “a ghost life in a continent where he is the absolute master and where he can continue to manage his trades and his business, even on behalf of Putin”.

However, Kostioukovich herself claims that “there are now several pieces of evidence that tell us that Prigozhin was on that plane and would also have been recognized by his family”.

The hypothesis is bold but if founded it could never be denied because even the official reports will confirm his death.

Without considering the fact that already in 2019 the leader of the Wagner mercenaries was given up for dead in another plane crash in Africa (read last paragraph) but then it turned out that he had not actually boarded the aircraft.

The Alleged Missile Attack

The second question concerns the responsibilities of a possible attack against the aircraft since the nature of any technical failures has not yet been understood.

It is based on information released by the GrEy Zone site close to the Wagner Group which, however, had shown evidence of extreme anti-Putin factionalism even after Prigozhin’s surrender following the march on Moscow by his paramilitaries.

A Russian government source at the Moscow Times instead points the finger at the Kremlin. “The fact that the plane crashed exactly two months after the beginning of the revolt and that it crashed “not far from Putin’s residence in Valdai” is “no coincidence”.

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There, the source explains, “there are four divisions of S-300 PMU1s guarding the sky.” Even Gray Zone already yesterday evening reported news, not yet verified, according to which residents of the area where the jet crashed heard the sounds of bullets fired from the ground at the aircraft. Ria Novosti today reports that some wreckage of the aircraft was found two kilometers away from the site of the impact.

According to the Fiorussi Telegram channels, the culprits, needless to say, would be the Ukrainians. “We still need more information,” blogger Sergei Markov told the Washington Post, sure it was an attack from Kiev.

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“The Russians may have killed him. But if the order was given to liquidate Prigozhin, then they would have killed him alone, without killing innocent people. If Putin wanted, he would have had him arrested and that’s it ”.


ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON AUGUST, 23 – 7 PM CET

The Mysterious Plane Crash

A private jet traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg crashed on Wednesday in Russia’s Tver Region. The Russian Emergencies Ministry said all 10 people on board had died. Rosaviation has since said that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Private Military Company, was listed among the passengers.

“The Embraer plane was flying out of Sheremetyevo to St. Petersburg. There were three crew and seven passengers on board. They all died,” an Emergencies Ministry official told TASS.

In addition to Prigozhin, Rosaviatsiya said Dmitry Utkin – a former Russian special forces operator and alleged co-founder of the PMC – was also traveling on the jet, as was Valery Chekalov, whom the US considers to be the deputy head of Wagner. The remaining passengers listed were Sergey Propustin, Evgeny Makaryan, Alexander Totmin, and Nikolay Matuseev, identified by Russian news outlets as Wagner

The crash happened near the village of Kuzhenkino in the northwestern Tver Region. Some Russian outlets have identified the plane as an Embraer Legacy 600, with the tail number RA-02795, which is believed to belong to Prigozhin. However, this was not confirmed by officials.

The Russian federal air transport agency said that Prighozhin’s name was on the passenger manifest.

Several short clips of the crash have circulated on social media. Videos published by the Mash and Baza Telegram channels appear to show the jet plummeting toward the ground in a seemingly uncontrolled spin, leaving behind a trail of black smoke. It is unclear from the clips which part of the aircraft had caught fire.

The Bodies Recovered are Charred

Eight bodies have been recovered so far, officials told RIA Novosti. An investigation into the incident is underway.

Rosaviation said that it has established a special commission to investigate the cause and circumstances of the incident. It identified the airplane as the Embraer-135BJ private jet, owned by the company MNT-Aero.

the remains of the burning plane

The bodies of the victims that have been recovered would all be charred due to the fire that developed immediately after the impact of the plane on the ground.

Therefore their identification can only take place in the next few hours thanks to the DNA test.

Wagner boss announced major move ‘to make Russia greater’

The Wagner private military company is continuing to recruit and is working hard “to make Russia even greater,” the head of the group, Evgeny Prigozhin, has said in a new video address. He added that Wagner is also seeking to help Africa become “even more free.”  

The short video emerged online on Monday and was apparently filmed in Africa. The PMC boss was armed and dressed in military garb while standing in a savannah-like landscape, with multiple armed men and gun trucks visible in the background-

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“The Wagner Group conducts reconnaissance and search activities. Making Russia even greater on all continents! And Africa even more free. Justice and happiness for all the African peoples,” Prigozhin stated, adding that the group has been pursuing “ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other bandits.”

Wagner is hiring “real heroes,” the PMC boss said, claiming that it continues “to fulfill the tasks that were set and to which we made a promise that we could handle.” Prigozhin did not elaborate on the specific nature of those tasks, or the people who had set them. It was also not immediately clear exactly when or where the address had been recorded.

The address comes after around two months of silence from the Wagner chief. Prigozhin had been active on social media prior to the botched insurrection launched by the PMC in late June, amid a dispute with the Russian Defense Ministry. The PMC ended up being re-deployed to Russia’s closest ally, Belarus, under a deal facilitated by President Alexander Lukashenko.

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Over the past few weeks, Poland has repeatedly sounded the alarm over Wagner’s presence in Belarus, even claiming that its contractors tried to breach the border. Minsk has firmly rejected the allegations of Wagner’s purported activities, with Lukashenko claiming Warsaw had “gone mad” with all the speculation surrounding the PMC.

The paramilitary contractors had in fact been contacted by some of the putschists in Niger. But it seems that their collaboration was then shelved.

Prigozhin has Reported Dead in 2019 also in Plane Crash

The leader of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was on board a plane that crashed today in Russia and whose death was confirmed on a Telegram channel affiliated with the mercenaries, has already been reported dead in 2019 also in a plane crash, but reappeared alive some time later.

Prigozhin’s death was first announced on October 11, 2019, after a plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the time, the aircraft carrying two Russians crashed shortly after taking off from Goma International Airport, and the head of the Wagner group was named as one of the people on board.

After the rumours, the mercenary emerged alive and continued his activities at the head of the paramilitary group. Prigozhin’s alleged death in 2019 is part of a report by the US Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs. The document was produced in July 2020.


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