Wagner’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has been officially confirmed as deceased following an exhaustive genetic analysis of the bodies discovered in the tragic plane crash that occurred on Wednesday.
Russian authorities have reported that the Investigative Committee (SK) has successfully established the identities of all ten individuals who lost their lives in the incident. These identities have been verified to match those listed on the flight’s passenger manifest.
The crash of Prigozhin’s private jet transpired to the northwest of Moscow on the 23rd of August, causing the unfortunate demise of everyone aboard the aircraft.
The Kremlin has firmly refuted any suggestions connecting it to the crash, dismissing such speculation. In a statement, the Investigative Committee has communicated that the criminal investigation remains ongoing, with the completion of molecular-genetic testing being a significant milestone.
The test results have definitively confirmed the identities of all ten individuals who perished, aligning with the previously published flight manifest.
The victims of this tragic accident encompass several prominent members of Wagner, a Russian mercenary organization originally established by Prigozhin and involved in military endeavors across Ukraine, Syria, and various parts of Africa.
Among those lost were key figures like Dmitry Utkin, who played a pivotal role in overseeing Wagner’s military operations. Additional individuals on board the Embraer Legacy plane, which was en route from Moscow to St Petersburg, included Wagner associates such as Valery Chekalov, Sergei Propustin, Yevgeny Makaryan, Alexander Totmin, and Nikolay Matuseyev.
The aircraft was under the command of pilot Alexei Levshin and co-pilot Rustam Karimov, with one flight attendant, Kristina Raspopova, also on board.
This catastrophic event unfolded merely two months after Prigozhin led a mutiny within Wagner against the Russian armed forces, resulting in the capture of the southern city of Rostov and raising concerns of a potential advance on Moscow.
The situation was ultimately defused through negotiation, leading to the relocation of Prigozhin and the Wagner fighters to Belarus. Despite this resolution, Russian President Vladimir Putin characterized the mutiny as a betrayal and expressed suspicions that Russian security forces might have been implicated in the crash.
While CBS cited US officials who suggested that an onboard explosion was the likely cause of the crash, the Pentagon indicated that Prigozhin probably was killed as a result.
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, vehemently denied rumors of foul play, labeling them as unequivocal falsehoods. President Putin extended his condolences to the families of the victims and acknowledged Prigozhin’s talents while acknowledging his significant life errors
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