Russia’s Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group, recently engaged in an uprising against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, met his demise on Wednesday (August 23) in an airplane accident. The incident occurred to the northwest of Moscow, resulting in the loss of all lives on board, as confirmed by Russia’s aviation agency. Among the casualties was Prigozhin, the commander of the mercenary unit that gained renown for its ruthless tactics globally and its successes in the Ukraine conflict. The aircraft involved was a privately-owned Embraer jet, carrying a total of seven passengers and three crew members. The journey commenced in Moscow and was bound for St. Petersburg before tragically crashing close to the village of Kuzhenkino in the western Tver area. As per Russian authorities, flight records show the airplane climbing to approximately 28,000 feet before abruptly ceasing to transmit its tracking data. Russian state media conveyed that eight bodies were discovered at the crash site, with official sources confirming the plane’s impact resulted in a fire.
The plane had been in the air for roughly 30 minutes before the incident occurred. Additionally, reports from RIA Novosti indicated a fragment of the aircraft lying on the road to Kuzhenkino, where a police cordon was established and specialized vehicles were positioned. Accompanying Prigozhin was Dmitry Utkin, often regarded as his second-in-command within the Wagner Group. Other individuals aboard were mentioned as Valery Chekalov, head of Wagner security, Yevgeny Makaryan, Prigozhin’s reported bodyguard, and several more Wagner Group members. The Grey Zone Telegram channel asserted Prigozhin’s demise was attributed to actions against Russia. While one source suggested Prigozhin’s body had been located and identified, official confirmation is still pending. All ten bodies have been recovered, as reported by Russia’s state-run news agency Interfax. Grey Zone shared that local residents heard two loud sounds preceding the crash and witnessed two vapor trails. An ongoing inquiry is in progress, and emergency teams are surveying the accident scene. The Wagner Group was responsible for deploying paid combatants to conflicts in regions like Ukraine and Niger. Prigozhin was last visible in a video released this week, claiming to be in Africa, although the video’s date remains unverified. His associates had relocated there subsequent to a purported coup attempt in Moscow earlier this year, during late June. A BBC report indicated that the executive jet exhibited no indications of trouble until a sudden descent within its final 30 seconds of tracked altitude, based on flight data