In a significant development concerning the mysterious plane crash that claimed the lives of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the notorious Wagner mercenary chief, and his crew, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday that explosive traces had been discovered in the remains of the victims.
This revelation comes two months after Prigozhin led a brief mutiny against Russia’s top military leadership, raising concerns and suspicions of foul play both among Kremlin critics and Western nations.
The ill-fated crash occurred between Moscow and Saint Petersburg back in August, sending shockwaves across Russia. President Putin’s comments mark the first substantial update regarding Russia’s investigation into the incident, shedding new light on the troubling circumstances surrounding it.
Speaking at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, President Putin disclosed, “The head of the Investigative Committee reported to me a few days ago that fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of the victims of the air disaster. There was no external impact on the plane.”
These findings have added a layer of complexity to the ongoing investigation, prompting authorities to consider various scenarios, including the possibility of premeditated murder.
In a critical tone, Putin also chastised investigators for their failure to conduct alcohol and drug tests on Prigozhin and the other nine victims of the crash. Furthermore, he alleged that a significant stash of five kilograms of cocaine had been uncovered at the Wagner offices following the mercenary group’s short-lived rebellion.
“A blood test for alcohol was not done,” Putin remarked, “even though we know that after the famous events in the (Wagner) company in Saint Petersburg, the FSB (security service) found not only 10 billion in cash but also five kilograms of cocaine.”
The crash and subsequent revelations have cast a dark shadow over Prigozhin, who had led an armed rebellion against Moscow’s military leadership in June, posing one of the most substantial threats to Vladimir Putin’s two-decade-long rule. Despite acknowledging Prigozhin’s “serious mistakes” in life, Putin had earlier praised him for achieving the “right results.”
The Kremlin, however, has vehemently dismissed allegations of orchestrating the plane crash as an act of revenge for Wagner’s audacious march on Moscow.
Nevertheless, it cannot be ignored that Russia has a troubling history of mysterious deaths involving Kremlin opponents during Putin’s leadership, leading many to raise questions about the true nature of this tragic incident.