Hours after a plane crashed in Russia wherein the founder of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin and other top commanders of the private military group were suspected onboard, no authority or official both from Wagner or Kremlin has confirmed that the Wagner boss died in the crash.
Aviation observers said shortly after the two aircrafts moved, one returned to Moscow.
But Russia Aviation authority confirmed that the Wagner boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin was among the list of passengers onboard the aircraft that crashed in the country few hours ago. The Aviation authority didn’t confirm if the Wagner boss is actually dead, only letting the Public knows his name was in the manifest.
Russia Federal Air Transport Agency said it has launched investigation into the plane crash that have 10 people onboard. The total number of dead bodies recovered at the crash site yet to be disclosed.
According to Russian media outlets, ten people on board the plane may have been killed when the plane crashed near Moscow.
The State-run media service, TASS reported the plane crashed in the Tver region, about 100 miles northwest of Moscow.
The Wagner group leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed dead after his private jet mysteriously dropped from the sky.
The mercenary chief was listed to be travelling on the private jet which was en route from Moscow to St Petersburg when it crashed on Wednesday, August 23.
Video showed the aircraft spiralling towards the ground, with smoke pouring from the fuselage after it mysteriously started diving towards the ground. Seconds later, snaps of the aftermath showed mangled wreckage in a fiery heap.
Russia’s state news agency Tass quoted emergency officials as saying the plane carried three pilots and seven passengers. The authorities said they were investigating the crash, which happened in the Tver region, about 100 miles north of Moscow.
It would be recalled that Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose private military force Wagner fought alongside Russia’s regular army in Ukraine, mounted a short-lived coup against the Russian government in late June.
A negotiated settlement between the Kremlin and the Wagner group put an end to the rebellion and Prigozhin agreed to go into exile in neighbouring Belarus.
It is widely believed that Wagner Group plunders diamonds, gold, oil, and gas from countries in which they operate as well as being paid directly by crooked regimes. “And on top of his other businesses, this had inflated Prigozhin’s wealth to extraordinary levels, with some estimates putting his personal fortune as much as £2 billion”, according to media report.
United States prosecutors in 2018 charged Prigozhin for his suspected role in funding the Internet Research Agency, which the U.S. described as a Russian “troll farm” that sought to use digital campaigns to increase political and social tensions in the U.S.
“The plane that crashed in the Tver Region listed Yevgeny Prigozhin among its passengers, (Russia’s aviation agency) Rosaviatsia said,” TASS news agency reported, with RIA Novosti and Interfax issuing similar reports.
The Russian emergency services said earlier that a private plane crashed in Moscow’s Tver region, probably killing all 10 people on board.
A video shared by Russian online news publication Mash on Telegram on August 23 shows the crash site of Wagner Group’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private plane in Russia’s Tver Oblast.
Also, Russian Civil Aviation Authority said seven passengers and three crew were on board the Embraer aircraft, which was en route from Moscow to St Petersburg.
TASS news agency reports that the jet crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino Tver region, about 100 miles north of Moscow, reportedly killing everyone onboard.
According to the passenger list, first and last name of Yevgeny Prigozhin was included in this list,” the Federal Agency for Air Transport of Russia said in a statement.
Earlier, a Wagner-linked Telegram channel Grey Zone reported that the jet was shot down by air defences in Tver region, north of Moscow.
Prigozhin led a failed mutiny against the Russian armed forces in June.
Prigozhin is the head of the Wagner mercenary group, which he established in 2014.
A wealthy businessman with a criminal record, he was known as “Putin’s chef” because he provided catering for the Kremlin.
In June he led his troops on a short-lived mutiny, after they seized control of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and moved towards Moscow, with the stated aim of removing the military leadership.
However, Prigozhin stopped the advance after negotiations with the Kremlin, which were mediated by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.
Under a deal to end the mutiny, charges against Mr Prigozhin were dropped and he was offered a move to Belarus.
He has kept a low profile since then, although a video released a few days ago suggested he was in an African country, where he has always supported the coup in Niger Republic.