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WSJ: US officials do not believe air defense shot down Prigozhin plane

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 24, 2023 7:45 PM 2 min read
A view of the site after a private jet, allegedly carrying Wagner mercenary group head Yevgeny Prigozhin and other passengers, that crashed in Russia's northwestern Tver Oblast on Aug. 23, 2023. (Photo by Wagner Telegram Account/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The plane crash which allegedly killed Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin was likely caused by 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 private Embraer Legacy aircraft, believed to have been carrying Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, crashed while flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg on the evening of Aug. 23.

The founder of the Wagner Group, who had launched a short-lived rebellion against the Kremlin in late June, is presumed dead.

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.

All 10 bodies found at the crash site near the village of Kuzhenkino in Russia's Tver Oblast have been taken for examination.

The Moscow Times reported that Prigozhin's phone was found at the crash site, although his body has not yet been identified.

While the cause of the crash is currently unknown, flight-tracking data indicates that in the last minutes of its flight, the plane made erratic climbs and descents, before dramatically dropping almost 2,500 meters per minute, after which the transmission of altitude data stopped.

The Russian Investigative Committee has initiated a "criminal case" following the plane crash due to the alleged violation of traffic safety rules and air transport operations.

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