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Putin confirms death of Wagner leader Prigozhin

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 24, 2023 8:11 PM 2 min read
Vladimir Putin addressing the audience during a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Kursk, as news emerges about private jet crash of Yevgeny Prigozhin, on Aug. 23, 2023. (Photo by GAVRIIL GRIGOROV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has confirmed the death of Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin on Aug. 24. The mercenary group leader was presumed dead in an Aug. 23 private jet crash.

"He made mistakes," said Putin, but he "got the results he wanted both for himself and for the common cause."

Putin also noted that he had known Prigozhin for a long time, expressing condolences.

Prigozhin was listed as one of the passengers of the aircraft, but it not initially confirmed whether he had been onboard. Russian media reported earlier on Aug. 24 that all 10 bodies found in the crash have been taken for examination.

The cause of the crash remains unclear. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters on Aug. 24 that Ukraine did not orchestrate the crash, but added that "everyone understands" who is behind it.

The likely cause was a bomb onboard or "some other form of sabotage," according to unnamed U.S. officials cited by the Wall Street Journal on Aug. 24.

Though the officials stressed that their assessments are not yet complete, the plane did not appear to have been shot down by an air defense missile, the article wrote.

The leader of the mercenary group had launched a short-lived rebellion against the Kremlin in late June. He captured the city of Rostov and marched toward Moscow before abruptly ending the insurrection.

Following an undisclosed deal allegedly brokered by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, the warlord was allowed to walk free and has recently released a video claiming to be in Africa.

The Wagner Group became infamous in 2022 for bringing tens of thousands of convicts from Russia's prisons into its ranks to fight in Ukraine, including those convicted of rape and murder, and used them as a highly effective but expendable assault force.

Russian media: Private jet crashes in Russia, warlord Prigozhin listed among passengers
A private plane has reportedly crashed in Russia’s Tver Oblast, with the Wagner Group’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin listed as one of the passengers, the state-owned news agency TASS reported on Aug. 23.
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