(CTN NEWS) – Genetic analysis has definitively confirmed the demise of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner paramilitary group, according to Russian authorities. The investigation into the crash of his private jet remains ongoing.
The insurgent who instigated a rebellion against the Russian military leadership in June is reported to have met his end as his aircraft plunged from the sky and crashed near the city of Tver, situated northwest of Moscow, on Wednesday.
While Russia’s aviation agency has listed his name among the deceased, officials have advised awaiting the outcome of a DNA test prior to finalizing his demise.
The investigative committee stated on Sunday, “Molecular-genetic examinations have concluded as part of the criminal inquiry into the airplane crash in the Tver region.
Based on the results, the identities of all ten victims have been confirmed, aligning with the individuals listed in the flight manifest.”
READ MORE: Wagner Boss Yevgeny Prigozhin Dies in Mysterious Plane Crash
Prigozhin’s insurrection targeted high-ranking generals of the Russian armed forces, holding them accountable for the mishandling of the Ukrainian invasion. This act marked the most substantial direct challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s authority in decades.
Western authorities are proceeding with the assumption that Prigozhin was eliminated in retaliation for the uprising, potentially under Putin’s orders. The Kremlin has refuted any involvement.
The abortive uprising led by the warlord, exactly two months prior to his demise, was also fueled by his opposition to government plans of assimilating Wagner into the military.
On Saturday, the Kremlin took fresh action to curtail irregular armed groups such as Wagner, which have supported the national army on the Ukrainian battlefield.
Putin enacted a decree demanding that all members of such units pledge allegiance to Russia, an official oath akin to that taken by soldiers and regular armed forces members.
Two Months After Bold Mutiny: Prigozhin’s Wagner Mercenaries and the Catastrophic Crash
Exactly two months following the audacious mutiny led by Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenaries against Russian military commanders, a catastrophic crash occurred.
During the mutiny on June 23-24, they seized control of Rostov, a southern city, and embarked on an advance towards Moscow. However, they abruptly reversed course 200 kilometers from the capital.
Russian President Vladimir Putin labeled this mutiny as a treacherous “betrayal,” yet he later met with Prigozhin at the Kremlin and expressed condolences to the families of those presumed to have perished in the crash.
Despite the absence of evidence, Western politicians and commentators have implied that Putin may have ordered Prigozhin’s demise as retribution for the mutiny. This uprising marked the most substantial challenge to Putin’s authority since his ascent to power in 1999.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov rebuffed these claims on Friday, denouncing them as “utter falsehood.” When asked about Putin’s potential attendance at Prigozhin’s funeral, Peskov deemed it premature to comment, citing the president’s busy agenda.
Wagner fighters played a prominent role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, particularly during the extended siege of Bakhmut. This occurred despite Prigozhin’s frequent and profanity-laden criticisms of Russia’s military leadership for their handling of the war, culminating in the ill-fated mutiny.
Following the termination of their mutiny, Wagner fighters have departed Ukraine, with some relocating to neighboring Belarus under the conditions of an agreement.
While a portion is anticipated to integrate into Russia’s armed forces, many will likely harbor resentment over the sudden demise of the group’s founder, who had garnered a remarkable degree of loyalty among his followers.
On Thursday, Putin delivered a nuanced tribute to Prigozhin, characterizing him as a “skilled entrepreneur” while also acknowledging his flaws and “significant life errors.”
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