Death of Prigojine: Putin salutes a “talented man” who made “mistakes”
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday afternoon welcomed the ” contribution “ on the offensive in Ukraine of the boss of the Wagner Group, Evgueni Prigojine, despite his “serious mistakes”and promised to “carry to the end” the investigation into the plane crash. “He was a man with a complicated destiny” and one “talented businessman”Mr. Putin said during a televised meeting, thereby implicitly confirming Mr. Prigozhin’s death.
The head of the Kremlin, who was speaking for the first time on this crash, also addressed his “sincere condolences” to the families of the victims.
“We will see what the investigators say in the near future. The expertise is in progress, a technical and genetic expertise. It will take some time”said the Russian president.
According to Mr Putin, Mr Prigozhin was “back from Africa” the day of the crash, Wednesday.
The leader of the paramilitary group – which sparked a rebellion against the general staff in June – was on board a private jet that crashed in the Tver region, about 180 kilometers north- west of Moscow. In addition to Mr. Prigojine, the aircraft carried, according to Russian civil aviation, his right-hand man Dmitri Outkine and other Wagner officials.
The Russian authorities have so far not advanced any leads to explain the crash. The accident, however, fueled speculation as to the possible assassination of the man who had become the enemy of the Kremlin after his aborted mutiny. Mr. Prigozhin, whom Mr. Putin said “known since the early 1990s”was then referred to as “traitor” by the latter.