Prigozhin: Russia confirms Wagner chief's death with DNA

The chief of the mercenary group as well as its founder have both been confirmed dead by Russian authorities following days of speculation

Photo of Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the mercenary Wagner group that has a heavy involvement in Russia's war on Ukraine (photo: DW)
Photo of Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the mercenary Wagner group that has a heavy involvement in Russia's war on Ukraine (photo: DW)


Russian investigators on Sunday, 27 August, confirmed that Yevgeny Prigozhin was among those who died in a plane crash in Russia earlier this week.

The investigators say DNA analysis has confirmed the identity of all 10 people who died on Wednesday, 23 August, when their plane crashed in the Tver region north of Moscow.

Prigozhin was the leader of the Wagner private military group, which staged a mutiny against the Kremlin in late June. In the aftermath, the Wagner leader was allowed to leave for Belarus after calling off the uprising in a deal mediated by Minsk.

Also on the plane was Dmitry Utkin, who had founded the Wagner Group.

Russia's Investigation Committee said that the results of genetic tests had confirmed the identities of all 10 killed.

"Molecular-genetic examinations have been completed as part of the investigation into the plane crash in the Tver region," Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko said. "According to their results, the identities of all 10 victims were established. They correspond to the names stated in the flight list," she added.

Prigozhin and Utkin were both on the list of passengers issued by Russia's civil aviation authority.

Russian authorities deny foul play

Russian officials had opened an investigation into air traffic violations after the incident. The Investigative Committee on Sunday did not, however, provide further details as to what may have caused the crash.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called the incident "tragic" and said that speculation that it was orchestrated by Moscow was an "absolute lie".

Earlier this week, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said that the incident was part a "pattern" of "unclarified fatalities" in Russia. A number of Kremlin critics have died under suspicious circumstances since President Vladimir Putin's rise to power.

Meanwhile, US intelligence suggested an 'intentional explosion' was responsible for the crash, and President Joe Biden said he was "not surprised" by Prigozhin's death.

Interestingly, the Wagner Group has been heavily involved in Russia's war on Ukraine, and has also had a substantial presence in western and central Africa.

This is a developing story and may be updated in due course

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines