Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group that led a mutiny against Russia’s army in June, was on the list of passengers of a plane that has crashed in Russia.

“The plane that crashed in the Tver Region listed Yevgeny Prigozhin among its passengers, [Russia’s aviation agency] Rosaviatsia said,” TASS news agency reported on Wednesday, with RIA Novosti and Interfax issuing similar report.

However, it was not immediately clear if he had boarded the flight.

“There were 10 people on board, including three crew members. According to preliminary information, all those on board died,” Russia’s ministry for emergency situation said shortly before.

The Embraer aircraft, en route from Moscow to St Petersburg, was carrying seven passengers and three crew, TASS reported on Wednesday.

Around 17:00 GMT, the ministry announced that a “private Embraer Legacy aircraft travelling from Moscow to Saint Petersburg crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino in the Tver Region”. It said it was conducting search operations.

Danield Hawkins, a journalist in Moscow, told Al Jazeera that “reports in the Russian media, unconfirmed so far, are saying this aircraft could have been taken down by air defence systems”.

“Prigozhin was among those on board or was at least listed as among those people on board.

“Some journalists report they’re in touch with his press secretary who is refusing to confirm that. A second jet was also in the air that’s turned around and gone back to St Petersburg.”

Prigozhin led a short-lived armed rebellion against the Russian leadership in June, posing the gravest challenge ever to President Vladimir Putin’s two-decade grip on power.

Prigozhin had his mercenaries occupy the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and then sent military columns marching towards Moscow.

However, it was not immediately clear if he had boarded the flight.

“There were 10 people on board, including three crew members. According to preliminary information, all those on board died,” Russia’s ministry for emergency situation said shortly before.

The Embraer aircraft, en route from Moscow to St Petersburg, was carrying seven passengers and three crew, TASS reported on Wednesday.

Sponsored

Danield Hawkins, a journalist in Moscow, told Al Jazeera that “reports in the Russian media, unconfirmed so far, are saying this aircraft could have been taken down by air defence systems”.

“Prigozhin was among those on board or was at least listed as among those people on board.

“Some journalists report they’re in touch with his press secretary who is refusing to confirm that. A second jet was also in the air that’s turned around and gone back to St Petersburg.”

Prigozhin led a short-lived armed rebellion against the Russian leadership in June, posing the gravest challenge ever to President Vladimir Putin’s two-decade grip on power.

Prigozhin had his mercenaries occupy the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and then sent military columns marching towards Moscow.

He called the Russian military leadership corrupt and incompetent. He had complained for months of inadequate munitions supplies for his fighters serving on the frontlines of Putin’s war in Ukraine.

At the time, Putin described the revolt as “treason”.

But shortly before his troops reached Moscow, Prigozhin ordered a retreat after negotiations with the Kremlin, in which Belarusian

leader Alexander Lukashenko acted as mediator.

As part of the deal reached to escape prosecution, Prigozhin and his Wagner fighters were offered sanctuary in Belarus.

More to follow

 

SPONSORED

Previous articleNERC Urges Electricity Prepaid Customers To Update Their Meters
Next articleAbuja Building Collapse Kills Over 30
An open source journalist, content manager and certified health writer.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here