The head of the Wagner mercenary group, which in June attempted to topple Russia’s military leadership, was on board a plane that crashed on Wednesday, with all passengers killed, Russian officials said.
The crash comes two months after Yevgeny Prigozhin launched a short-lived rebellion — seen as the biggest challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority since he came to power. Since then uncertainty has surrounded the fate of Wagner and its controversial chief.
Russia’s ministry for emergency situations on Wednesday announced the crash of a private plane travelling between Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
According to preliminary information, all 10 people on board died, including three crew members, the ministry said. Russia’s aviation agency later said the Wagner chief was on board.
“According to the airline, the following passengers were on board the Embraer-135 (EBM-135BJ) aircraft:… Prigozhin, Yevgeny,” said Rosaviatsia, which also listed Dmitry Utkin, a shadowy figure who managed Wagner’s operations and allegedly served in Russian military intelligence. Read more