Russian President, Vladimir Putin said it has sent his condolences to the family of Yevgeny Prigozhin after the Wagner Group leader was presumed killed in a plane crash.
According to Sky News, the Russian president said Prigozhin was a talented businessman who he had known since the 1990s.
This was the first time Putin has commented on the plane crash, which happened north of Moscow on Wednesday, and killed all 10 people on board.
If confirmed, Prigozhin’s death would leave Putin stronger in the short term – removing a powerful figure who had played an instrumental role in the invasion of Ukraine, and criticised Russia’s top military officials.
The mercenary chief had led a brief rebellion in June – demanding the ousting of defence minister Sergei Shoigu as he marched his fighters towards Moscow before calling off their advance.
According to the list of passengers, among them was the name and surname of Yevgeny Prigozhin,” the department said in a statement.
Among the 10 dead were three crew members and seven passengers. The seven passengers were identified as Sergey Propustin, Evgeniy Makaryan, Aleksandr Totmin, Valeriy Chekalov, Dmitriy Utkin, Nikolay Matuseev and Prigozhin, the ABC News reported.
The crew was identified as Cmdr. Aleksei Levshin, co-pilot Rustam Karimov and flight attendant Kristina Raspopova.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said in a statement, “The demonstrative elimination of Prigozhin and the Wagner command two months after the coup attempt is a signal from Putin to Russia’s elites ahead of the 2024 elections.”