The day after a plane that authorities claimed he was traveling on crashed, Russian President Vladimir Putin indirectly confirmed the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner mercenary group.
Putin reportedly called Prigozhin a "talented man," adding that he made serious mistakes in his life, in an apparent tribute to his former close confidante, whose fighters were instrumental in the battle for Ukraine.
“He was a man of a complicated fate. He made some serious mistakes in his life, but he also achieved the needed results—both for himself and, when I asked him to, for the common cause,” Putin added.
He was addressing a gathering with Denis Pushilin, the Denis Pushilin-led Russian administration of Donetsk.
The Russian government agency in charge of civil aviation, Rosaviatsiya, said Prigozhin, as well as top Wagner commander Dmitri Utkin, were among the 10 people on board the Embraer plane that crashed on Wednesday in the Tver Region, about 300 kilometers north-west of the Russian capital.
It said there were no survivors.
No cause was given for the deadly crash, but speculation was rife, in particular after Putin vowed “inevitable punishment” against the mutiny leaders, whom he had accused of “treason.”
It took nearly 24 hours for Putin to react publicly to the crash of the business jet.
The Russian leader didn’t imply that Moscow had any part in the plane crash.
He stressed instead that Prigozhin’s mercenary force had played a decisive role in the fighting in Ukraine, one that would not be forgotten, NAN reports.