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Wagner chief Prigozhin ‘killed’ as 10 die in plane crash near Moscow – follow live

Wagner chief Prigozhin killed

Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is thought to be among 10 people killed in a plane crash in Russia. Footage shows the flaming wreckage after a private jet came down near Moscow last evening.

The plane carrying three pilots and seven passengers was on route from Moscow to St Petersburg, according to officials cited by Russia’s state news agency Tass. Prigozhin was on the passenger list for the plane, but it wasn’t immediately clear if he was on board.

As the news about the crash was breaking, Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke at an event commemorating the Battle of Kursk, hailing the heroes of Russia’s “the special military operation” in Ukraine.

The Wagner chief’s fate has been the subject of intense speculation ever since he mounted a short-lived mutiny against Russia’s military leadership in late June.

The Kremlin said the founder of the Wagner private military company, which fought alongside Russia’s regular army in Ukraine, would be exiled to Belarus. But the mercenary chief has since reportedly popped up in Russia, leading to further questions about his future.


Where did plane crash?

The plane Prigozhin is reported to have been flying on was a private business jet – an Embraer Legacy 600, registration number 02795.

The aircraft is 26.3m long, has a wingspan of 21.1m and a top speed of 528mph. It has a range of nearly 4,000 miles can carry 13-14 passengers and usually has two crew members on board.

It crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino, northwest of Moscow, during a flight from Moscow to St Petersburg.

Matt Mathers24 August 2023 08:35


Ukrainian official eviscerates Lars von Trier for ‘Russian lives matter’ post: ‘Siding with the executioner’

Filmmaker Lars von Trier has come under fire from the Ukrainian government after saying that “Russian lives matter also” on social media.

The Danish auteur is known for directing controversial films such as Antichrist, Dogville, and The Idiots, many of which are known for their violent and sexually explicit content.

Matt Mathers24 August 2023 08:50


‘Important not to jump to conclusions’ on plane crash – UK government minister

Schools minister Nick Gibb said “it’s important not to jump to conclusions” following reports that the leader of the Wagner mercenary group died in a plane crash.

He told Sky News: “We only heard about this, it only happened a few hours ago. We are monitoring the position. It’s important not to jump to conclusions. We are working with our allies, and as soon as we have assessed the situation the government will of course have more to say on the matter.”

It was put to him earlier on Times Radio that this may be further evidence that Russian president Vladimir Putin is not the kind of person deals can be made with, including to end the war in Ukraine.

Mr Gibb said: “We do know that Putin engaged in an illegal invasion of Ukraine. He’s subject to a warrant for war crimes.

“So we know what kind of person Putin is. What we are doing as a British government with our allies is supporting the effort in Ukraine to defeat the Russians in this illegal invasion with billions of pounds of aid to Ukraine in their military efforts to defend their country.”

Education minister Nick Gibb

(Parliament TV)

Matt Mathers24 August 2023 08:20


Black body bags carried away from crash site

Black body bags were removed by investigators at the crash site of the plane believed to have been carrying Prigozhin early on Thursday morning.

Part of the plane’s tail and other fragments lay on the ground near a wooded area where forensic investigators had erected a tent.

Mourners left flowers and lit candles near Wagner’s offices in St Petersburg early on Thursday.


Matt Mathers24 August 2023 08:05


Kremlin remain silent on reports of Prigozhin death

The Kremlin remains silent on reports that Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed in a plane crash near Moscow.

There has been no official comment from Russian president Vladimir Putin or other senior officials, including at Russia’s defence minstry.

A Telegram channel linked to Wagner, Grey Zone, has pronounced Prigozhin dead, however, and hailed him as a hero and a patriot who it said had died at the hands of unidentified people it called “traitors to Russia.”


Matt Mathers24 August 2023 07:47


Prigozhin seen laughing about death: ‘We’ll all go to hell’

A video showing Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s thoughts on death has been shared on a Telegram channel linked to the mercenary group, just hours after its chief and co-founder were feared to have died in a plane crash.

Prigozhin, a former prison convict and one of Vladimir Putin’s closest associates until he launched a failed military coup in June, is believed to have died in the plane crash between Moscow and St Petersburg.

The Grey Zone Telegram channel, which provides both official and unofficial updates on Wagner activities, hailed Prigozhin as a hero and a patriot who died at the hands of unidentified “traitors to Russia” earlier on Wednesday.

Arpan Rai24 August 2023 07:22


Putin had just visited military headquarters overthrown by Wagner in coup, says UK MoD

Russian president Vladimir Putin made a rare visit to the Southern Military District headquarters which Wagner fighters had briefly taken control of during the coup, the British Ministry of Defence said today.

Situated in Rostov-on-Don, approximately 160km from the frontline, the headquarters hosted Putin last week on Saturday, the ministry said.

The HQ hosts military staff running the war in Ukraine.

“Putin held a meeting with senior officers, including Chief of the General Staff General Valery Gerasimov who continues to command the operation in Ukraine,” the MoD said in its latest intelligence update.

The Russian president “highly likely wishes to project his authority and to portray the senior military command as functioning as usual”, it added.

Arpan Rai24 August 2023 07:12


Wagner mercenary leader, Russian mutineer, Putin’s chef: Many sides of Yevgeny Prigozhin

Yevgeny Prigozhin‘s fate has been entwined with the Kremlin for decades — as a trusted government contractor, and the head of the Wagner mercenary army that fought in Ukraine and has been blamed for doing Russia’s dirty work in Syria and Africa.

But when he turned his men toward Moscow two months ago, many inside Russia and beyond started wondering just how long he could last after drawing the fury of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It was reported that Prigozhin cut a deal with Putin and the leader of Belarus for a safe haven for himself and the men involved in the rebellion. He was reported to pop up periodically in Russia, and appeared in a recruitment video earlier this week.

But then on Wednesday Russia’s civil aviation agency said he was aboard a plane that crashed north of Moscow, killing all 10 people on board.

Read more about him here:

Arpan Rai24 August 2023 07:02


Mystery behind ‘Yevgeny Prigozhin’ named on passenger list

Several experts have speculated that all may not be as it seems with the crash of a private jet on Wednesday carrying a passenger named “Yevgeny Prigozhin”, even after Russia appeared to confirm the death of the Wagner mercenary group boss.

Russia’s air traffic authority confirmed Prigozhin was named in the passenger list for the flight and Vladimir Rogov, a Russia-appointed official in the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region in Ukraine, said he talked to Wagner commanders who also confirmed that Prigozhin was aboard, as was Dmitry Utkin, Prigozhin’s close aide whose call sign – Wagner – became the company’s name.

But Keir Giles, a Russia expert with the international affairs think tank Chatham House, urged caution about reports of Prigozhin’s death. He said “multiple individuals have changed their name to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, as part of his efforts to obfuscate his travels”.

Flight tracking data showed a private jet that Prigozhin had used previously took off from Moscow on Wednesday evening and its transponder signal disappeared minutes later.

Another private jet believed to be right behind the downed one took a U-turn, according to unverified flight tracking data.

Arpan Rai24 August 2023 06:46


Seven injured in Russian airstrike in Ukraine’s Dnipro

An early morning missile strike injured seven people in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, governor of Dnipropetrovsk region Serhiy Lisak said today.

Three men and four women were among the wounded, he said.

Arpan Rai24 August 2023 06:09

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