Russia’s most powerful mercenary, founder of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin, was on board a plane which crashed on Wednesday evening north of Moscow, the Russian authorities claim.
The Embraer Legacy was flying between Moscow and St Petersburg when it crashed in the Tver region 30 minutes after takeoff. There were no survivors among the seven passengers, which also counted Prigozhin’s right-hand man Dmitry Utkin, and three crew members. The crash occurred two months after Prigozhin led a mutiny against Russian army chiefs for an “incompetent prosecution” of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
While we have yet to hear an official comment from the Kremlin on Prigozhin’s fate, his Telegram channel, Grey Zone, has pronounced him dead, hailing him a hero and patriot. It further claimed, without providing evidence, that the jet had been shot down by the Russian military, leading to their leader dying at the hands of unidentified people it called “traitors to Russia.”
Mourners have begun leaving flowers and candles near Wagner’s offices in St Petersburg.