In this image taken from a video released on August 21, 2023, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the military company Wagner Group, is talking to the camera in an unknown location. Photo: Razgruzka_Vagnera telegram channel via AP
Russian state news agencies said on Wednesday that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner group that led a mutiny against the Russian army in June, was on the list of passengers on the plane that crashed.
“The plane that crashed in the Tver Region listed Yevgeny Prigozhin among its passengers, (Russian Aviation Authority) Rosaviatsia said,” TASS news agency reported, while RIA Novosti and Interfax issued reports. similar.
“There were 10 people on board, including 3 crew members. According to initial information, all people on board were killed,” the Russian Emergencies Ministry said shortly before.
Around 17:00 GMT, the ministry announced that a “private Embraer Legacy plane traveling from Moscow to Saint Petersburg crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino in the Tver Region”.
It said they were conducting search operations.
Videos on Telegram channels linked to Wagner posted footage – which AFP could not independently confirm – showing the wreckage of the plane burning in a field.
In June, Prigozhin led a brief uprising against Russia’s conventional army with thousands of mercenaries taking up arms and marching from southern Russia toward Moscow with the aim of overthrowing the country’s leaders. the military of this country.
Also read: Explanation | Understanding the Wagner Rebellion
The mutiny ended with an agreement brokered by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko under which Prigozhin was expected to move to neighboring Belarus with some of his men.
Since then, he has refused to cede command of Wagner, but has remained largely out of the public eye.
On Monday, a video went viral that appeared to show him in Africa, where he vowed to make “more freedom”.