Russian President Vladimir Putin has made his first public comments about Wednesday’s plane crash that reportedly killed Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and other top commanders of the Wagner Group. Speaking from Moscow Thursday, Putin sent his condolences to the families of the victims and praised Wagner’s actions in Ukraine and several African nations.
President Vladimir Putin: “Indeed, if there were — and the primary data indicate that there were — employees of the Wagner private military company, I would want to note that these people made a significant contribution to our common cause of fighting the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine. We remember this, we know it, and we will not forget it.”
Putin described Prigozhin as a talented man who made “mistakes” throughout his life. Putin did not mention the June 24 mutiny led by Prigozhin that saw heavily armed Wagner forces advance toward Moscow.
Meanwhile U.S. intelligence officials have told reporters the plane carrying Prigozhin crashed as the result of an assassination plot involving a bomb or some form of sabotage. In Kyiv, President Zelensky said Ukraine had nothing to do with Prigozhin’s death, and suggested Putin was to blame.