Russia: Mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led a brief armed rebellion against Russia’s military leadership in June, was killed in a plane crash on Wednesday.
Mercenaries of the Wagner Group were fighting in Ukraine but Prigozhin increasingly denounced Russia’s defense establishment for denying weapons and ammunition to his forces.
In June, the Wagner boss abruptly called for an armed uprising to oust Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and led his forces to seize the military headquarters in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a televised address, vowed to punish those behind the rebellion, calling it “betrayal” and “treason.” Prigozhin, however, called off the action within 24 hours in a deal struck by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.
Reports suggest that the death of Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and top officers of his private military in a plane crash was widely seen as an assassination. The incident came just two months after they staged a mutiny that dented Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority.
France on Thursday said that there were “reasonable doubts” about the cause of the plane crash that presumably killed Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner paramilitary group.”We don’t yet know the circumstances of this crash. We can have some reasonable doubts,” government spokesman Olivier Veran told a regional channel, reported Reuters.