Earlier today, a privately owned business jet crashed in the Tver Region of Russia, leading to the death of all 10 individuals on board, according to Russian emergency response officials. Yevgeny Prigozhin, a prominent mercenary leader, was listed among the passengers, although it remained uncertain whether he was actually on the flight.
Rumors circulating in the media suggested that the downed jet was the property of Prigozhin, the entrepreneurial mind behind the Wagner private military firm.
Prigozhin’s Name Was On The Flight Manifest
Russian emergency authorities, quoted by the government-controlled Tass news agency, disclosed that the ill-fated flight was manned by three pilots and carried seven passengers. Whether Prigozhin was among those onboard was not 100% clear, despite Rosaviatsia, Russia’s civil aviation regulator, confirming his name was on the passenger manifest.
“An investigation of the Embraer plane crash that happened in the Tver Region this evening was initiated. According to the passenger list, first and last name of Yevgeny Prigozhin was included in this list,” – Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport
Embarking from Moscow and bound for St. Petersburg, the plane crashed in the Tver region, located more than 60 miles north of Russia’s capital city. The incident is currently under investigation by the authorities. The aircraft had reportedly been in flight for less than 30 minutes at the time it went down.
An Associated Press review of flight tracking information revealed that the private jet, linked to Wagner and previously used by Prigozhin, departed from Moscow on Wednesday evening. Mysteriously, the transponder signal vanished mere minutes later in a remote area devoid of any nearby airfields where a safe landing might have been executed.
Prigozhin, recognized for his command over the Wagner private military unit that fought in unison with Russia’s regular army in Ukraine, initiated a fleeting armed rebellion against Russia’s military top brass in June’s latter part. The Kremlin responded by declaring his exile to Belarus, with his forces given the choice to retire, follow him, or integrate into the Russian military.
Subsequent reports placed Wagner fighters in Belarus, while Prigozhin’s aircraft was spotted making several journeys between Belarus and Russia.
Earlier this week, Prigozhin resurfaced in the public eye with a recruitment video post-mutiny, where he proclaimed Wagner’s ongoing involvement in reconnaissance, search activities, and efforts to “enhance Russia’s prominence across all continents and increase freedom in Africa.”
–This is a developing story. SOFREP will monitor the situation and provide more information as it becomes available.