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Genetic testing shows Wagner leader was killed in plane crash, Russia says

 August 28, 2023

Russian authorities have reported that Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group mercenary organization, was confirmed dead following a recent plane crash in the Tver Region, just north of Moscow, as the Daily Wire reported.

Prigozhin's death occurred just two months after his short-lived revolt against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian Investigation Findings

Official sources revealed that Prigozhin was among those onboard the ill-fated private jet, according to Russia’s state-run TASS media outlet.

The Russian Investigative Committee stated, "As part of the investigation into the plane crash in the Tver Region, molecular genetic examinations have been completed."

They further affirmed, "According to their results, the identities of all 10 victims have been established," the committee added. "

Another significant passenger on the manifest was Dmitry Utkin, a prominent figure within the Wagner mercenary faction.

The ill-fated jet was traveling between Moscow and St. Petersburg when it crashed.

According to ongoing investigations, potential infringements of flight safety protocols are currently under scrutiny.

U.S. Defense's Stance and Kremlin's Refutation

While the Pentagon, through Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder concurred that Prigozhin's death in the crash was a certainty, officials dismissed rumors suggesting the interference of a surface-to-air missile in the tragic event.

However, ABC News cited other unnamed U.S. officials who suspected an onboard explosive device as the potential cause.

On Friday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responded to Western speculation about the crash, asserting that such claims were entirely false.

A Glimpse Into Prigozhin's Relationship with Putin

Prigozhin, 62, was historically regarded as a Putin confidante, with his mercenaries serving Russia's strategic interests across regions like Africa and the Middle East.

However, this camaraderie seemed to wane during Russia's prolonged invasion of Ukraine.

Citing Russia's handling of the Ukrainian conflict, Prigozhin accused the Russian military brass of sidelining his forces regarding logistical support.

This tension culminated in a nearly day-long march on Moscow by Wagner troops in late June.

Although a subsequent agreement seemed to exile Prigozhin and his mercenaries to Belarus, the Wagner chief was seen in Russia shortly after.

In the aftermath of the recent plane crash, Putin remembered Prigozhin as a "talented man" but one who made "serious mistakes in life," as noted by CNN.