Prigozhin plane crash infographic
Graphic shows career of Yevgeny Prigozhin.


Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin

By Duncan Mil

August 24, 2023 - Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was on the passenger list of a jet that crashed flying from Moscow to St Petersburg, killing all ten people on board, according to Rus­sian offi­cials.

On June 23-24, Prigozhin and his Wagner Group mercenaries led a mutiny that posed the biggest threat to President Vladimir Putin’s almost quarter-century rule.

Wag­ner’s men seized con­trol of two cit­ies in south­ern Rus­sia, killing at least 13 sol­diers and downing two heli­copters and a plane. Putin agreed to an elev­enth-hour deal to avoid fur­ther blood­shed, brokered by Belarus’ leader Alex­an­der Lukashenko.

At the time, observers speculated that Prigozhin was a “dead man walking.”

The 62-year-old mercenary chief used two aircraft for travel -- one as a decoy, just in case. Yesterday’s crash occurred on the two-month anniversary of Prigozhin’s attempted coup, which Putin denounced as “treason.”

A post by a Wag­ner-con­nec­ted social media chan­nel, Grey Zone, claimed that Rus­sian anti-air­craft defences had shot down the Embraer Legacy private jet. It said res­id­ents heard “two bursts of char­ac­ter­istic air defence fire” before the plane began to fall.

If confirmed, the death of Prigozhin -- also known as “Putin’s chef” for his Krem­lin catering -- would mark a dramatic end to the war­lord’s career.

PUBLISHED: 24/08/2023; STORY: Graphic News