A picture of PMC Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is seen at an informal memorial in downtown of Rostov-on Don, Russia, 24 August 2023. EFE/EPA/STRINGER

Wagner chief Prigozhin confirmed dead in plane crash: Russian authorities

Moscow, Aug 27 (EFE).- The Russian Investigative Committee (RIC) on Sunday identified former Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin as one of 10 people who died in a plane crash this week.

According to the agency genetic testing conducted on the remains of the plane’s passengers confirmed the identity of the 10 people aboard the aircraft.

“As part of the investigation into the plane crash in the Tver Region, molecular genetic examinations have been completed. According to their results, the identities of all 10 victims have been established. They correspond to the list stated in the flight manifest,” the agency said in a statement, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.

Prigozhin’s private Embraer Legacy 600 jet crashed for unknown reasons some 300 kilometers northwest of Moscow while flying from the Russian capital to St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

Other senior figures of the Wagner Mercenary Group including its main commander and co-founder Dmitry Utkin also died in the crash.

A former Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer, Utkin fought in Chechnya, Syria and Ukraine, and was awarded the title of Hero of Russia.

Utkin’s code name “Wagner” later gave the Russian state-funded group its official name.

Valery Chekalov, who was responsible for Prigozhin’s security and Wanger’s logistics and was recently sanctioned by the United States, was also aboard the plane.

The crash came after Prigozhin led a failed coup in June during which the 62-year-old criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin and threatened to storm Moscow.

The Kremlin quashed the mutiny promptly and a deal was reached whereby Prigozhin and the Wagner group relocated to Belarus.

Russia has denied accusations of involvement in Wednesday’s aircraft accident. EFE