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Wagner boss Prigozhin confirmed dead in plane crash – Moscow

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Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has been confirmed dead after genetic analysis of bodies found in Wednesday’s plane crash, Russian officials say.

The Investigative Committee (SK) said the identities of all 10 victims had been established and corresponded to those on the flight’s passenger list.

Prigozhin’s private jet came down north-west of Moscow on 23 August, killing all those on board.

The Kremlin has denied speculation it was to blame for the crash.

The SK said it was continuing a criminal investigation.

“Molecular-genetic testing has been completed,” it said in a statement.

“According to its results, the identities of all 10 deceased have been established, and they correspond to the list published in the flight manifest.”

The victims include several senior figures in Wagner, a Russian mercenary group set up by Prigozhin and involved in military operations in Ukraine, Syria and parts of Africa.

Among them was Dmitry Utkin, who managed Wagner’s military operations.

The others on the Embraer Legacy plane – flying from Moscow to St Petersburg – included Wagner members Valery Chekalov, Sergei Propustin, Yevgeny Makaryan, Alexander Totmin and Nikolay Matuseyev.

The plane was flown by pilot Alexei Levshin and co-pilot Rustam Karimov, and there was one flight attendant, Kristina Raspopova.

The crash came two months after Prigozhin led a Wagner mutiny against the Russian armed forces, seizing the southern city of Rostov and threatening to march on Moscow.

The standoff was defused after a deal was reached which led to Prigozhin and Wagner fighters relocating to Belarus.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the mutiny as a “stab in the back” and there has been speculation that Russian security forces were somehow involved in the crash.

US officials quoted by CBS have said that the most likely cause of the crash was an explosion on board the plane, and the Pentagon said Prigozhin was probably killed.

On Friday Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said rumours of foul play were an “absolute lie”.

Mr Putin has sent his condolences to the families of the victims.

He described Prigozhin as a “talented person” who “made serious mistakes in life”.

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