Genetic tests confirm Prigozhin’s death in plane crash, says Russia – POLITICO

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Russian investigators on Sunday confirmed the death of the head of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a plane crash last Wednesday, citing genetic tests proving his identity.

Prigozhin’s name was among ten passengers on the flight log of the private jet that crashed en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg in Russia’s Tver region.

Wagner sympathizers had hoped that the mercenary leader, who orchestrated a failed coup against Russian President Vladimir Putin in June, was somehow still alive.

But in a statement published on Sunday by the Telegram news service, the Russian investigative committee said the identity of all passengers on the plane had been confirmed by “molecular genetic testing.”

Prigozhin, a former Loyalist dubbed “Putin’s cook” for his role as catering manager for the Kremlin, was bitter about the Russian government’s handling of the war against Ukraine. After Prigozhin’s brief capture of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and march on Moscow, Putin accused the Wagner boss of “treason.”

Although the Russian President on Thursday offered his condolences to Prigozhin’s family, there is widespread speculation that his government was responsible for the mercenary leader’s death. US officials said this week there was no evidence the plane was shot down by a missile but left open the possibility that a bomb was detonated on board the plane.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied last week that Kiev was involved in the crash.

Russia launched fresh airstrikes on northern and central Ukraine on Sunday; At least two people injured and some damage were reported in the Kiev region.


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Jennifer Adams

Dedicated news writer with a passion for truth and accuracy. Covering stories that impact lives.

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