The chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was among the passengers on a private Embraer jet that crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino in the Tver region of Russia. The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency confirmed that Prigozhin was on board the plane. There were a total of seven passengers and three crew members, all of whom were killed in the crash. The Russian Ministry of Emergency Services is conducting search operations at the crash site.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, also known as “Putin’s Chef,” is the leader of Wagner, a private military group that has been heavily involved in conflicts such as the capture of eastern Ukrainian cities following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Earlier this year, Prigozhin staged a short-lived mutiny against Russia’s military leadership but called it off in a deal that required him and his fighters to relocate to Belarus.
The cause of the plane crash is under investigation, and the Russian Investigative Committee has initiated a criminal case. Russian President Vladimir Putin was participating in an event in the Kursk region at the time of the crash. US President Joe Biden suggested that Putin may have been behind the crash, referencing his previous caution about flying with Prigozhin.
The plane involved in the crash was an Embraer Legacy 600, a corporate jet based on the ERJ 145 regional airliner.
– CNN (https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/19/politics/embraer-jet-crash-wagner-leader-intl/index.html)