Russian Authority Reports Mercenary Commander Prigozhin was on Crashed Plane; No Survivors

by Ethan Kim
Mercenary leader

Certainly, here is the paraphrased text:

Yevgeny Prigozhin, a mercenary leader who briefly spearheaded an armed uprising against the Russian forces earlier in the year, was confirmed to be on a plane that crashed north of Moscow on Wednesday, resulting in the death of all 10 individuals on board, as stated by Russia’s civil aviation agency, Rosaviatsia.

The incident ignited immediate suspicions, given that Prigozhin’s status as the founder of the private military firm Wagner has been under intense scrutiny since the rebellion.

President Vladimir Putin had condemned the insurrection as an act of “treason” and “betrayal,” vowing retribution, but subsequent charges against Prigozhin were dropped. The Wagner leader, whose forces were instrumental in battles for Russia in Ukraine, was allowed to withdraw to Belarus and reportedly appeared in Russia occasionally.

The timing of the crash is notable, following reports in Russian media that a high-ranking general connected to Prigozhin had been removed as the air force commander.

A business jet that was flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg crashed nearly 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Moscow, according to officials quoted by Russia’s state-run news agency, Tass.

Rosaviatsia quickly announced Prigozhin’s name on the passenger list, and the airline later confirmed he was indeed on the flight.

Earlier, Vladimir Rogov, a Russia-appointed official in Ukraine’s partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region, spoke with Wagner commanders who also verified that Prigozhin was on the plane, along with Dmitry Utkin, whose call sign Wagner became the company’s moniker.

The U.S. President Joe Biden expressed no surprise but didn’t confirm what occurred.

A Russia expert at Chatham House, Keir Giles, advised caution regarding reports of Prigozhin’s death, mentioning that “multiple individuals have changed their name to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, as part of his efforts to obscure his travels.”

Flight tracking data examined by The Big Big News exposed that a private jet previously used by Prigozhin departed Moscow on Wednesday evening, and its transponder signal vanished shortly thereafter. Images of the wreckage and videos shared by a pro-Wagner Telegram channel Grey Zone seemed to be consistent with an explosion mid-flight.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has initiated an inquiry into the crash on charges of breaching air safety regulations, a standard procedure for such incidents.

Despite this, Prigozhin’s death, if verified, isn’t expected to impact Russia’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine, where his troops have been engaged in some of the most intense fighting.

After the mutiny, his forces retreated from the front lines, following significant battles in the eastern Donetsk region.

Post-rebellion, Russian authorities asserted that Prigozhin’s fighters would be limited to serving within the regular army.

Prigozhin recently released his first recruitment video since the rebellion, emphasizing Wagner’s ongoing efforts in making “Russia even greater on all continents, and Africa even more free.”

In the same week, reports emerged that Gen. Sergei Surovikin was relieved from his role as commander of Russia’s air force. Surovikin had previously led Russia’s operation in Ukraine and has been out of the public eye since the mutiny.

As news of the crash was unfolding, President Putin praised the heroes of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine at an event memorializing the Battle of Kursk.

Please note the correction to the crash site’s distance from Moscow, which is almost 300 kilometers, not more than 100 kilometers.

Contributors to this report include Jill Lawless in London, Michael Biesecker in Washington, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Seung Min Kim in South Lake Tahoe, California.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Yevgeny Prigozhin

Who was Yevgeny Prigozhin?

Yevgeny Prigozhin was a mercenary leader who led a brief armed rebellion against the Russian military. He was also the founder of the Wagner private military company, and his forces were involved in some of the most intense fighting for Russia in Ukraine.

What happened to the plane on which Prigozhin was a passenger?

The plane, en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg, crashed almost 300 kilometers north of Moscow, killing all 10 people on board. The crash’s cause is under investigation, but there are images and videos consistent with an explosion mid-flight.

Has Prigozhin’s death been officially confirmed?

Russia’s civil aviation agency, Rosaviatsia, reported that Prigozhin was on the manifest, and according to the airline, he was indeed on board. However, some experts have urged caution regarding reports of his death.

What was the reaction of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the crash?

The text does not specifically detail President Putin’s reaction to the crash itself. However, Putin had previously denounced Prigozhin’s rebellion as “treason” and vowed to avenge it.

Was there anyone else notable on the plane?

Dmitry Utkin, whose call sign Wagner became the private military company’s name, was also reported to be aboard the plane, as confirmed by Wagner commanders.

How is the crash likely to affect Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine?

Even if Prigozhin’s death is confirmed, it is unlikely to have an effect on Russia’s war in Ukraine, where his forces fought some of the fiercest battles over the last 18 months. After the rebellion, his troops pulled back from front-line action.

What are the speculations surrounding the crash?

The crash immediately raised suspicions given Prigozhin’s history and the intense scrutiny surrounding him since the rebellion. Some images and videos appeared to show an explosion mid-flight, leading to speculations about the cause of the crash.

Has there been an official investigation launched into the crash?

Yes, Russia’s Investigative Committee opened an investigation into the crash on charges of violating air safety rules, a typical procedure for such incidents.

More about Yevgeny Prigozhin

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Profile
  • The Wagner Group
  • Russian Civil Aviation Agency (Rosaviatsia)
  • Recent Conflicts in Ukraine
  • Russian Investigative Committee
  • Russian Air Force
  • Battle of Kursk History
  • Moscow-St. Petersburg Air Route

You may also like


Michael Anderson August 24, 2023 - 1:14 am

Reading about the crash made me shudder. The videos showing the plane falling, its terrifying stuff. Hope the investigation reveals what really happened.

John Smith August 24, 2023 - 9:33 am

cant believe this happened to Prigozhin. What’s going on in Russia lately, everything seems so suspicious.

David Lee August 24, 2023 - 12:37 pm

This could be a turning point in the whole Ukraine situation. or not. Prigozhins death might not change a thing

Mary Johnson August 24, 2023 - 2:43 pm

This is tragic, but i have to say, there’s more to this crash than meets the eye. Why did charges against Prigozhin dropped so fast, and why was he allowed to retreat?

Sarah Thompson August 24, 2023 - 10:03 pm

The whole thing with Prigozhin and Wagner has been complex and confusing. Now this crash and the possible explosion it just raises more questions.


Leave a Comment

BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News