Moscow, August 24: Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was listed as a passenger on a private jet that crashed north of Moscow, killing all ten people on board, the Russian authorities have said. It, however, remains to be confirmed if the Wagner chief had actually boarded the flight, as per Al Jazeera. Prigozhin was seen as the biggest challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority since he came to power. US President Joe Biden has said he is “not surprised” at news that Prigozhin may have died in a plane crash in Russia.
There’s not much that happens in Russia that Putin’s not behind
Biden said: “I don’t know for a fact what happened, but I’m not surprised. There’s not much that happens in Russia that Putin’s not behind. But I don’t know enough to know the answer.”
Demonstrative elimination of Prigozhin
Ukraine Presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak wrote on social media that the crash of the plane was a signal from the Kremlin to anyone who showed disloyalty. “The demonstrative elimination of Prigozhin and the Wagner command two months after the coup attempt is a signal from Putin to Russia’s elites ahead of the 2024 elections. ‘Beware! Disloyalty equals death'”, Podolyak wrote, as per Al Jazeera.
Prigozhin's condition & whereabouts remain unknown as of yet
According to Rosaviatsia, the Russian government's aviation agency, an individual with Prigozhin's name was on board. Prigozhin's condition and whereabouts remain unknown as of yet.
Igor Rudenya, the governor of the Tver area, has taken "personal control" of the response to the plane crash, according to his press department, which also noted that the aircraft was a civil one, according to Moscow Times.
In an interview with CNN, Estonia Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said Putin will “eliminate opponents and that scares anyone who is thinking of expressing an opinion different than his”.
Those who threatened Putin’s power do not “die naturally”
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, on state news channel TVP Info, said that those who threatened Putin’s power do not “die naturally”. “We would have great trouble naming anyone who would intuitively think this was a coincidence. It so happens that political opponents whom Vladimir Putin considers a threat to his power do not die naturally,” he said as per Al Jazeera.
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