A tragic incident unfolded as Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, was listed as a passenger on a crashed private jet, leading to a flurry of speculation. Russia’s civil aviation authority confirmed the crash, which occurred on a flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
The Embraer aircraft was reported to have crashed in the Tver region, north of Moscow, with no survivors among the seven passengers and three crew members on board.Prigozhin, known for his involvement in the Wagner Group and a past mutiny attempt against the Russian armed forces, was linked to the ill-fated flight. The Grey Zone Telegram channel, associated with Wagner, mentioned that the jet might have been shot down by air defenses, leading to the crash.
Eyewitnesses in the area reported hearing two distinct sounds before the aircraft went down, observing two vapor trails as well.Russian news agency Tass indicated that the aircraft, which belonged to Prigozhin, caught fire upon impact. The flight had a short duration of under thirty minutes before the crash occurred. While a second jet owned by Prigozhin landed safely in the Moscow region, this incident has raised questions about its connection to the tragic crash.
BREAKING: Private jet carrying Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has crashed with 10 people on board.— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) August 23, 2023
Prigozhin was a media favorite back in June when he led led a failed rebellion against Putin.
“Wagner-linked Telegram channel Grey Zone reported the… pic.twitter.com/YuFcUlXGek
The incident comes in the wake of Prigozhin’s failed mutiny in June, during which his forces moved from Ukraine, briefly seizing the city of Rostov on Don, and posing a threat to Moscow. The conflict with Russian military commanders over the situation in Ukraine was resolved through negotiation, allowing Wagner troops to move to Belarus or integrate into the Russian army. Prigozhin, initially meant to relocate to Belarus, has maintained a visible presence in Russia, even releasing a video supposedly filmed in Africa.
Although these events do not definitively point to intentional targeting, the circumstances have given rise to widespread speculation about the true nature of the crash. Given Prigozhin’s history and the tensions he has stirred, many are questioning whether this incident was indeed an accident or something more deliberate. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash, shedding light on this unfortunate event.