Russia recovers bodies, flight recorders from Wagner crash

The jet crashed soon after taking off from Moscow for St Petersburg, carrying Wagner chief Prigozhin and nine others. Kremlin has rejected accusations around this

Russia recovers bodies, flight recorders from Wagner crash (photo: DW)
Russia recovers bodies, flight recorders from Wagner crash (photo: DW)


Russian authorities announced on Friday, 25 August, that they had recovered 10 bodies from the scene of a plane crash presumed to have killed the chief of the mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement on the Telegram messaging platform that the flight recorders were also recovered. "Molecular genetic analyses are being carried out to establish their identities," the committee said.

Prigozhin was in the private jet that crashed in Russia on 23 August, according to Wagner-linked media and Russian aviation authorities. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash.

Several Western countries have suggested Moscow might be behind the crash, noting it comes barely two months after the mercenary chief's short-lived mutiny against the Russian military leadership.

What did the Kremlin say?

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov flatly denied on Friday the allegations of Moscow's involvement, describing the speculation surrounding the crash as a "complete lie".

A preliminary assessment by the US intelligence had concluded that the jet was downed by an "intentional explosion", the Associated Press news agency reported.

Describing the assessment, one of the US officials said that Prigozhin was "very likely" targeted, the AP reported. The officials, however, did not offer any details on what caused the explosion.

Responding to reporters' questions about what brought down the jet, US president Joe Biden said: "I'm not at liberty to speak to that precisely". He added that the US was trying to "nail down" the cause of the crash.

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