Plane Carrying Putin’s Enemy, Wagner Group Chief Mysteriously Crashes

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Yevgeny V. Prigozhin is listed on the passenger list of a plane that crashed north of Moscow on Tuesday. He founded the Wagner mercenary band and staged a short rebellion against Vladimir Putin.

A video shared on Telegram showed a plane on fire on the ground. The partial registration number matches a jet Prigozhin had been known to use.

According to Tass, the Russian state news agency, the Federal Agency for Air Transport of Russia issued a press release stating that an investigation had been launched into the Embraer crash which occurred in the Tver Region on Wednesday evening. According to the passenger list, the first name and last of Yevgeny Prigozhin were included on this list.

Russian media reported that eight bodies were recovered so far from the wreckage. Seven passengers and three members of the crew were said to be aboard the commercial aircraft.

According to a Telegram account believed to be near the Russian leadership, reports of Mr. Prigozhin’s death were “premature” and that “Yevgeny Prigozhin could have been on a separate airplane.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Russian air defenses may have shot down the plane.

Wagner’s social media channels said that Russian air defenses brought down the Embraer Legacy 600 jet. Onlookers posted video footage that appeared to show a missile trail and the plane falling with only one wing.

There are many other scenarios that can be true within the Byzantine world Russia’s political system:

1. According to a Russian Telegram Channel close to the Kremlin, Prigozhin might not even have been on the flight, but it would be in his best interest to convince certain Russian dictators that he was. It’s possible that the Wagner Group boss needed to disappear temporarily. You shouldn’t be surprised to see him in Africa in a few months.

2. Putin is not guilty, but Prigozhin’s men killed him. So be it for all mercenaries.

3. The aircraft could have suffered a real catastrophic failure that was not related to politics, given the state of Russian Aviation.

The New York Times updates its coverage regularly.

The fate of Yevgeny Prgozhin is still unknown. According to anonymous sources cited by several Russian media outlets, Yevgeny Prigozhin was on the plane when it crashed. Grey Zone, a Telegram page associated with Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenary organization, posted just now that it was still unclear whether the warlord is dead or alive.

When we learn more about Prigozhin, we’ll update the story.