“O head of the Investigative Committee gave me a report a few days ago. Fragments of grenades were found in the bodies of victims of the air disaster,” said Vladimir Putin, during an event at the Valdai Club, an annual international pro-Russian discussion forum founded in 2004, held today in Russia.
The head of the Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, died on August 23, after the private jet transporting him from Moscow to Saint Petersburg crashed.
Other senior members of the Wagner Group also followed the aircraft.
Both Ukraine (a country targeted by a Russian invasion since February 2022) and the West suspect that the crash of the aircraft was not an accident, but rather an attack, a thesis denied by Moscow.
The Russian authorities who are investigating this accident have not yet revealed whether they are more inclined towards the theory of murder, a technical problem or human error, knowing only that the only investigation that has been carried out so far concerns possible violations of safety rules. of the flight.
The men of the Wagner Group were on the front lines of fighting in eastern Ukraine, including the battle for the city of Bakhmut, captured by Russian forces in May after nearly a year of bloody fighting.
After the fall of Bakhmut and growing tension with the Defense Minister and the leadership of the Russian army, Prigozhin led a rebellion in late June, with Wagner Group operatives leading a march towards Moscow with the aim of remove Russian military leadership.
The rebellion would be a failure and was stopped through the mediation of Alexander Lukashenko, Putin’s ally and President of Belarus, where part of the Wagner Group moved, before the death of Prigozhin and men at the top of the paramilitary company in an air disaster, on 23 of August.
After the Wagner Group rebellion, Putin gave Prigozhin’s fighters the option of joining the regular army, going into exile in Belarus, or returning to civilian life.
According to Putin, there were “several thousand fighters” from Wagner who signed commitment contracts with the Ministry of Defense.
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