Vladimir Putin Ends Silence on Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Reported Death, More Than 24 Hours After the Wagner Chief’s Private Jet Crash
Russia’s President acknowledged that the head of the mercenary group was a “talented individual” who had “made significant life mistakes.”
Additionally, Putin extended condolences to the families of all 10 individuals presumed to be aboard the plane that tragically crashed northwest of Moscow on Wednesday evening.
However, he refrained from explicitly confirming Prigozhin’s demise.
From the moment of the crash, speculation has swirled regarding the cause of the fatal incident and the presence of Prigozhin on the passenger list.
During a briefing on Thursday, a Pentagon spokesperson mentioned that the US believed the Wagner chief was likely among the casualties of the crash.
Residents near the crash site in the Tver region recounted hearing a loud explosion before witnessing the plane descending from the sky.
One theory under scrutiny is the possibility of a clandestine bomb being smuggled onto the aircraft, as indicated by reports in Russian media.
According to a US official who spoke to CBS News, a probable cause seems to be an explosion within the plane.
The exact nature of the explosion remains uncertain, though a bomb is one potential explanation, the official stated.
An alternate theory, proposed by a Telegram channel linked to Prigozhin, suggested that the jet might have been downed by Russian anti-aircraft forces. This notion remains unverified, and on Thursday, the Pentagon denied having any information to support this claim.
Authorities are questioning ground personnel at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, from where the plane departed en route to St. Petersburg. Additionally, surveillance footage is under scrutiny.