Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner, has reportedly been killed in a private jet crash north of Moscow.
The Russian Civil Aviation Authority says that Yevgeny – who led a short-lived mutiny against President Vladimir Putin-led Russian government in late June – was on the passenger list of the ill-fated jet.
Those who lost their lives in the plane crash include seven passengers and three crew members who were on board the Embraer aircraft en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
Eight bodies have so far been found at the site of the plane crash by the Russian emergency services.
“An investigation of the Embraer plane crash that happened in the Tver Region this evening was initiated. According to the passenger list, first and last name of Yevgeny Prigozhin was included in this list,” Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport says in a statement.
Unconfirmed media reports also suggest that the jet belonged to Yevgeny.
– Yevgeny: ‘Dead man walking’ –
The 62-year-old mercenary boss founded Wagner – a group that now boasts of about 25,000 fighters – in 2014. The group has been active in Ukraine, Syria, and West Africa.
Yevgeny led the mutiny on 23-24 June 2023, moving his troops from Ukraine, and threatening to march to Moscow. On the way, the group even seized control of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
The stand-off was settled by a deal that allowed Wagner troops to move to Belarus or join the Russian army. Yevgeny himself relocated to Belarus too,.
Ever since then, Russian opinion shapers have described him as a “dead man walking”.