A Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, stated on Wednesday that the crash which killed Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, and some of his associates may have been premeditated. Peskov mentioned that various versions, including the possibility of an assassination, are being considered in the investigation. Prigozhin died on August 23 when a private jet carrying him, six associates, and three crew members crashed approximately 60 miles north of Moscow, resulting in the death of all onboard.
Preliminary findings from U.S. intelligence indicated that the jet crashed due to an internal explosion and that Prigozhin was “very likely” targeted for his involvement in a failed coup. However, the Kremlin has not yet confirmed this assessment. Peskov’s statement marks the first time Russia has acknowledged the potential assassination of Prigozhin, who was a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, often referred to as “Putin’s Chef” due to his successful catering business serving the Kremlin, was buried in a private ceremony in his hometown of St. Petersburg on Tuesday. President Putin condemned the insurrection as a “stab in the back” and vowed that anyone involved would face consequences.
The Interstate Aviation Committee, responsible for overseeing civil aviation in Russia and other former Soviet republics, announced earlier on Wednesday that it was conducting an investigation into the crash. Additionally, Russia reportedly informed Brazil’s aircraft investigation authority (Cenipa) that it possessed information regarding the Embraer Legacy 600 jet crash that killed Prigozhin. Peskov declined to comment on this report, stating that an investigation is currently underway.
Please note that the information provided is based on available reports and may be subject to change as the investigation progresses.