Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, 62, who founded Wagner, a private military company, in 2014, has been reported dead following a plane crash in Moscow.
The Wagner Mercenary Chief, also known as Putin’s Chef after catering for Kremlin events, died in a plane crash on Wednesday, August 23, as was confirmed by Russian aviation authorities.
Prigozhin came to fame two months ago after he led an abortive mutiny against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin had denounced the June mutiny as “treason”, but Prigozhin had appeared to escape the immediate retaliation by the Kremlin under a deal brokered to seize the revolt as his fighters came within 200 kilometres of Moscow.
Questions about his fate have swirled for two months since the Russia-Wagner mutiny. The cause of the accident was not stated, but the plane crash immediately raised suspicions that Putin’s ‘Chef’ had been killed. Prigozhin’s aircraft, an Embraer-135 (EBM-135BJ), was flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg on Wednesday with seven passengers and three crew, the Rosaviatsia Aviation Authority said.
According to Russia’s Aviation Regulator, Dmitry Utkin, Prigozhin’s Wagner second in command, was also among the crash plane passengers.
However, some members of the international community are skeptical of his death because Putin’s chef was also pronounced dead in a plane crash in 2019, only to emerge three days later.