As reports circulate that feared Wagner warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin has died in a plane crash near Moscow, it has emerged that the mercenary boss was pronounced dead in another plane crash in 2019 – only three days later to show up.
Prigozhin was listed by Russian authorities as one of 10 passengers aboard a doomed plane that plunged into a ball of flames, killing everyone on board – exactly two months to the day after he led a short-lived unit against Moscow.
But there is still no confirmation that Prigozhin, who has been a thorn in Vladimir Putin’s side since the start of the Ukraine war, died in the plane crash.
And this isn’t the first time that Prigozhin has been pronounced dead in a plane crash, only to emerge alive and well three days later – leading some to question whether the Wagner warlord is “rising from the dead” a second time. could.
In October 2019, an An-27 military aircraft with eight people on board crashed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was reported at the time that Prigozhin was on board and under the father – but three days later it turned out that he was still alive.
And Keir Giles of the Chatham House think tank said several people were known to have changed their names to Yevgeny Prigozhin as part of his efforts to cover up his travels and protect himself from assassination. “Let’s not be surprised if he shows up in a new video from Africa anytime soon,” he said.
Footage emerged of Prigozhin speaking to his deputy Wagner commander, who was also reportedly among those killed in the recent plane crash, saying “death is not the end” and “we’re all going to hell.”
Footage has surfaced of Prigozhin speaking to his Wagner deputy commander, who was also reportedly among those killed in the recent plane crash, saying “death is not the end” and “we’re all going to hell.”
Prigozhin was listed by Russian authorities as one of 10 passengers aboard a doomed plane that plunged into a ball of flames, killing everyone on board – exactly two months to the day after he led a short-lived unit against Moscow
Emergency workers carry a body bag near the wreckage of Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private jet at the crash site in Tver region, Russia, on Thursday
In the creepy video, Dmitry Utkin told Prigozhin, “Death isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning of something else,” to which the Wagner boss replied, “Yes, we’re all going to hell, but hell.” we will.” “Will be the best.”
Although there is no official confirmation of Prigozhin’s death, the warlord’s supporters claim he is dead and hailed him as a hero and patriot perished at the hands of unknown people, whom they dubbed “the traitor to Russia”.
But Russia’s investigative committee investigating the crash confirmed this morning that ten people were killed in the crash, with no mention of Prigozhin.
On Thursday morning, Russian officials carried black body bags from a wooded area at the scene of the accident. Parts of the plane’s tail and other fragments lay on the ground near where forensic investigators had set up a tent.
Whoever or whatever was behind the crash, Prigozhin’s death would rid Putin of someone who has posed the greatest challenge to the Russian leader’s authority since he came to power in 1999.
Others opposed to Putin or his interests also died or near death in mysterious circumstances, including outspoken political leaders and journalists. The Kremlin has always denied any state involvement in such incidents.
Prigozhin’s death would also leave the Wagner Group, which in June angered Putin by a failed armed mutiny against army leaders, a leaderless and raising questions about its future operations in Africa and elsewhere.
The crashed Embraer Legacy 600 Brazilian executive jet model had only one accident in over 20 years of service, according to the website International Aviation HQ, and it was not due to a mechanical failure.
Embraer said it has complied with international sanctions imposed on Russia and has not performed maintenance on the aircraft since 2019.
According to flight tracking data, the plane showed no signs of a problem until a precipitous crash in the last 30 seconds.
A view of the grounds after a private jet carrying ten people — allegedly including Prigozhin
A specialist works on Thursday at the crash site of a private jet owned by Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin in the Tver region
Witnesses to the crash heard a loud bang before seeing the plane “fall out of the sky” – locals are sharing these images of the aftermath on social media, although it’s currently unconfirmed if this is the plane
Video footage allegedly shows the plane falling from the sky Wednesday in the Bologovsky district of the Tver region, 60 miles north of Moscow. A burning wreckage was later seen in a field, which appeared to be an airplane. Unconfirmed images showed it was completely ablaze.
Prigozhin, 62, has become increasingly cautious since he led a coup against Putin’s regime exactly two months ago.
After the failure, he was warned that his life was in danger. He was known to be very careful about his safety and is rumored not to have been on board the fateful plane, despite state television claims otherwise.
Sources close to him said that while he owned the plane, he usually flew on another plane.
Another plane, also said to have ties to Prigozhin, was spotted “zigzagging” over Moscow after the crash, fueling speculation that the Wagner boss might not have been on board after all.
The tracking data available for the crashed plane appears to show that it climbed to about 29,000 feet before suddenly disappearing and dropping to 0 feet.
A channel linked to Wagner said the plane was shot down by anti-aircraft guns, but this has not yet been confirmed.
Prigozhin has long had close ties to the Kremlin and, until recently, headed the Wagner mercenary unit
Prigozhin led the June 23-24 mutiny against senior Russian army leaders that Putin said could have plunged Russia into civil war. Wagner fighters shot down Russian attack helicopters during the uprising, killing an unconfirmed number of pilots and enraging the military.
He had also spent months criticizing Russia’s war in Ukraine and trying to overthrow Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov.
Many Russians had wondered how he could get away with such brazen criticism without consequences.
The mutiny was ended by an apparent Kremlin deal in which Prigozhin agreed to relocate to neighboring Belarus. In practice, however, he appeared to move freely within Russia under the agreement, which had reportedly guaranteed his personal security.
Prigozhin released a video address on Monday, which he says was recorded in Africa. In July he attended a Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg.
According to unconfirmed Russian media reports, Prigozhin and his associates attended a meeting with Russian Defense Ministry officials on Wednesday