HomeBusinessYevgeny Prigozhin crash was not attributable to surface-to-air missile, says US

Yevgeny Prigozhin crash was not attributable to surface-to-air missile, says US

Preliminary US intelligence studies recommend the airplane carrying Yevgeny Prigozhin was not downed by a surface-to-air missile, based on folks briefed on the findings.

US officers are nonetheless engaged on the idea that the airplane was introduced down on the orders of Vladimir Putin, whilst Russia’s president broke his silence on the crash to laud Prigozhin’s file as chief of the Wagner paramilitary group.

Putin mentioned Wagner had “made a big contribution to our widespread trigger, the combat in opposition to Nazism in Ukraine” — a reference to Russia’s invasion of its neighbour.

“I knew Prigozhin from a very long time, from the early Nineties. He had a troublesome path and made severe errors in his life. However he bought outcomes — for himself, and for the widespread trigger once I requested him, like in the previous few months,” Putin added.

The US was nonetheless assessing what was behind the crash, officers mentioned. One early principle is there may have been an explosion on board however officers cautioned that they’ve come to no agency conclusions.

“We’ve got no data right now to recommend {that a} surface-to-air missile was launched in opposition to the personal plane reportedly carrying Yevgeny Prigozhin,” a senior US administration official mentioned.

The US evaluation got here after Putin on Thursday publicly mentioned Prigozhin was lifeless, within the Kremlin’s first official response to the warlord’s obvious demise within the airplane crash a day earlier than.

Russia’s president mentioned “preliminary information” indicated figures from Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenary group have been on board and expressed his condolences to the households of all 10 individuals who died.

However supporters of Prigozhin, who was listed among the many passengers of a personal jet that crashed north-west of Moscow on Wednesday, accused “traitors” of assassinating him in retribution for a mutiny he led in late June.

Prigozhin and his group are accused of quite a few brutal warfare crimes in Ukraine and in addition in elements of the Center East and Africa the place they’ve operated. However the warlord was standard with some in Russia for his battlefield successes in Ukraine and his straight-talking critique of the military management.

Putin mentioned Prigozhin was a “gifted businessman not simply in our nation, however he bought ends in Africa, the place he was into oil, fuel, treasured stones, and metals”. He mentioned Prigozhin had “simply bought again from Africa yesterday, so far as I do know, and met right here with sure officers”, with out elaborating.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin mentioned Wagner had ‘made a big contribution to our widespread trigger, the combat in opposition to Nazism in Ukraine’ © Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin/Reuters

Investigators launched a prison probe into the crash on Thursday and the aviation company mentioned it was looking for the airplane’s black field, with Putin noting that outcomes would “take time”.

Fellow hardliners dubbed Prigozhin the chief of a “get together of victory” encompassing ultranationalists, Chechen militants and shadowy safety service figures who needed Russia to overcome Ukraine fully.

“I’m the one chief [of the ‘party of victory’] left,” Konstantin Malofeyev, a nationalist tycoon and patron of a militia that has fought alongside Wagner in Ukraine, informed the Monetary Occasions. “We wish to combat to a victorious finish,” he mentioned.

Wagner’s St Petersburg headquarters lit up within the form of a cross in a single day and a few masked fighters sporting camouflage knelt in tears in entrance of images of Prigozhin.

“The nation has misplaced its hero and greatest conductor,” a Wagner-affiliated channel wrote on Telegram. One other mentioned Prigozhin could be “the most effective, even in hell” and shared a clip of the classical composer Richard Wagner’s Trip of the Valkyries.

Many within the hardline group shared Prigozhin’s view that Russia may have been extra profitable in its invasion of Ukraine had it not been for blunders dedicated by the nation’s high generals.

A body is carried away from the crash site
A physique is carried away from the crash web site on Thursday © AP

The obvious transfer to decapitate Wagner signalled Putin’s intention to shore up the place of Russia’s armed forces and the return to favour of uniformed generals over the mercenary group’s leaders and officers near them, western officers informed the FT on Thursday.

Whereas cautioning that particulars of the operation and its fallout have been nonetheless unclear, the officers privately instructed that it will severely weaken Wagner’s affect inside Russia, however not considerably have an effect on its actions in international nations the place it remained an necessary side of Kremlin energy.

Tighter Kremlin management over the group may additionally permit Putin to deliver its non-military operations, similar to profitable pure useful resource provide contracts in African nations, nearer to the state finances, one of many officers added. 

“It exhibits Putin’s concentrate on revenge,” mentioned one of many officers.

Many anticipated some retribution for Prigozhin’s mutiny try in June and doubted that the deal the warlord struck with the Kremlin — which might have seen Wagner and its chief relocate quietly to Belarus — could be the top of the story.

“Prigozhin was a nuisance to too many individuals. The variety of enemies reached a essential level,” Sergei Mironov, an outspoken, pro-war chief of a Kremlin-controlled opposition get together, wrote on X, previously Twitter.

Malofeyev instructed the warlord’s demise “was deliberate to create home political penalties” after Putin promised to go away Wagner alone.

“The president gave his phrase that nothing would occur to the mutineers, and it did. Whoever did this needed to embarrass and provoke Putin,” he mentioned.

The Ukraine warfare had created a lot turmoil in Russia’s governing and safety equipment that Prigozhin’s rivals may have credibly had him killed and not using a direct order from Putin, based on an individual aware of the warlord’s operations.

Navy figures eager to avenge the servicemen killed by Wagner throughout their mutiny “determined it was well worth the danger”, the particular person mentioned. “Now they’re simply going to elucidate to Putin after the very fact why it occurred.”

Prigozhin’s personal jet, an Embraer Legacy that he had not too long ago used to journey between Moscow, Belarus, his hometown of St Petersburg, and to elements of Africa the place Wagner operates, crashed within the Tver area north-west of Moscow.

“The assassination of Prigozhin may have disastrous penalties. The individuals who gave the order don’t perceive the temper within the military and morale in any respect,” mentioned Roman Saponkov, a Russian war-blogger and invasion cheerleader who can also be thought of near the Wagner group.

One other nameless Telegram channel, identified to be run by a former Wagner staffer, additionally mourned the demise of extremist Dmitri Utkin, a founding father of the Wagner militia whose identify was on the passenger record alongside Prigozhin.

“Alas, betrayal . . . led Dmitri Utkin to his grave,” the authors wrote. “The legendary fighter and commander died not on the battlefield, however from a cowardly blow within the again.”

Supply hyperlink

latest articles

explore more


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here