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Mercenary Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, Known for Armed Rebellion, Dies in Plane Crash

August 23, 2023

Photo Credit: AP

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of a mercenary group that staged a short-lived armed uprising against the Russian military earlier this year, has tragically perished in a plane crash just north of Moscow. The aircraft, carrying a total of 10 individuals, met a fatal end, as confirmed by Russia’s civil aviation agency.

The circumstances surrounding the crash have sparked immediate speculation, given the enigmatic fate that surrounded Prigozhin since his involvement in the mutiny. President Vladimir Putin had branded the rebellion as an act of “treason” and a “betrayal,” vowing to retaliate. However, the legal charges against Prigozhin were eventually dropped. The leader of the Wagner private military company, renowned for its formidable presence in Ukraine, was allowed to find refuge in Belarus, periodically resurfacing within Russia.

Coincidentally, the plane crash comes on the heels of reports from Russian media about a high-ranking general connected to Prigozhin being relieved of his post as the air force commander.

The ill-fated flight, transporting seven passengers and three crew members, was en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg when it tragically went down around 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of the Russian capital. Officials, as cited by Russia’s state news agency Tass, provided these details.

Rosaviatsia, Russia’s civil aviation regulatory body, swiftly confirmed Prigozhin’s presence on the flight’s manifest. The agency further verified the same through the airline’s information.

In an earlier account, Vladimir Rogov, a figure appointed by Russia in the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region in Ukraine, relayed conversations with Wagner commanders. They affirmed that both Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, the individual behind the call sign “Wagner” which inspired the company’s name, were on board.

“I cannot confirm the details, but I am not taken aback by the news,” commented U.S. President Joe Biden.

(Source: Associated Press)

 

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