Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Thursday the “contribution” to the offensive in Ukraine of the boss of Wagner Evgeny Prigojine, despite his “mistakes”, and promised to “lead to the end” the investigation into the fatal crash of his plane.
“He was a man with a complicated destiny, who made serious mistakes in his life, but who was getting the results he needed,” Putin said during a televised meeting, presenting his “sincere condolences” to the relatives of the crash victims. “These are people who have made a significant contribution to our common effort” in Ukraine, where Russia has been waging a military offensive since February 2022, Putin continued.
Called a “traitor” by the Russian president in June
Referring to the investigation into the causes of the crash launched by the Russian authorities, the president promised to “conduct it in its entirety and reach a conclusion”. “We will see what the investigators will say in the near future. The expertise is in progress, a technical and genetic expertise. It will take some time,” Vladimir Putin said.
The Russian authorities have so far not advanced any leads to explain the crash early Wednesday evening of the private jet which according to the Russian civil aviation transported Prigozhin, his right arm Dmitri Utkin and other officials of Wagner.
The accident, which fueled speculation that the man who had become the enemy of the Kremlin after its abortive rebellion in June had been assassinated, killed the 10 occupants of the aircraft, according to the authorities. Yevgeny Prigojine, whom Mr. Putin said he had “known since the beginning of the 1990s”, had been called a “traitor” by the Russian president during his aborted mutiny in June. According to Vladimir Putin, the boss of Wagner had “returned from Africa” the day of the crash, Wednesday.