Putin sends condolences to Prigozhin's family after crash

Russian leader says Wagner Group made 'significant contribution' to the common cause of fighting the 'neo-Nazi' regime in Ukraine; says investigation ongoing to determine the cause of the plane crash

Reuters|Updated:
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences on Thursday to the family of Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin after his presumed death in a plane crash the day before and praised him as a "talented businessman".
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Crash investigators have still to conclusively identify the remains of the 10 people believed to have died in Wednesday's crash northwest of Moscow, and Putin said the examination would take time.
2 View gallery
פוטין, פריגוז'ין ושברי המטוס הבוער
פוטין, פריגוז'ין ושברי המטוס הבוער
Yevgeny Prigozhin, aftermath of the crash, Vladimir Putin
(Photo: Gavriil Grigorov / AFP)
"As for the aviation tragedy, first of all I want to express my most sincere condolences to the families of all the victims. It's always a tragedy," Putin said in televised remarks made during a meeting in the Kremlin with the Moscow-installed chief of Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
"Indeed, if employees of the Wagner company were there, and the preliminary data indicate they were, I would like to note that these people made a significant contribution to our common cause of combating the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine, we remember this, we know it and we shall not forget," he added.
The crash occurred exactly two months after Prigozhin led a mutiny against Russia's army leadership, an act of rebellion that Putin at the time condemned as a treacherous "stab in the back".
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התרסקות המטוס בה נהרג יבגני פּריגוז'ין, ראש קבוצת וגנר
התרסקות המטוס בה נהרג יבגני פּריגוז'ין, ראש קבוצת וגנר
Aftermath of the crash of a private plane carrying Yevgeny Prigozhin
Putin on Thursday recalled that he had known Prigozhin - a convicted criminal who went on to establish a successful catering company before founding the Wagner mercenary group - since the early 1990s, in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"He (Prigozhin) was a talented person, a talented businessman, he worked not only in our country, and achieved results, but also abroad, particularly in Africa. He was involved there with oil, gas, precious metals and stones."
The United States is looking at a number of theories over what brought down the plane carrying the mercenary leader, including a surface-to-air missile hitting it, U.S. officials told Reuters on Thursday.
First published: 20:15, 08.24.23
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