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Reuters

Putin Breaks Silence After The Deadly Plane Crash Of Mercenary Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the family of Yevgeny Prigozhin on Thursday, breaking his silence following the fatal crash of the mercenary leader’s plane. 

This incident occurred two months after Prigozhin led a mutiny against army chiefs.

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Residents of Kuzhenkino, the village near the crash site, reported hearing a bang before the jet, on which Prigozhin was reported to be a passenger, crashed to the ground.

One local villager told Reuters news that: “It wasn’t thunder, it was a metallic bang – let’s put it that way”.

Putin paid a generous tribute to Prigozhin, describing him as a talented businessman who knew how to look after his own interests. But he also described Prigozhin as a flawed character who made some bad mistakes.

“I want to express my most sincere condolences to the families of all the victims. It’s always a tragedy,” Putin said in televised remarks made during a meeting in the Kremlin with the Moscow-installed chief of Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.

“I had known Prigozhin for a very long time, since the start of the 90s. He was a man with a difficult fate, and he made serious mistakes in life.”

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Prior to his statement, the only official information had come from aviation authorities, confirming Prigozhin’s presence on the flight.

Russian investigators have initiated a probe into the crash but have not clarified the suspected cause of the crash.

The US officials told Reuters that they are exploring several theories regarding the plane’s downfall, including the possibility of a “surface-to-air missile”.

Russians who fought for Ukraine called for Wagner mercenaries to switch sides.

Denis Kapustin, the commander of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), said: “You are facing a serious choice now, you can stand in a stall of Russia’s defence ministry and serve as a watchdog for executors of your commanders or take revenge,” 

“To take revenge, you need to switch to Ukraine’s side.”

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