MOSCOW, AUGUST 23 (REUTERS) – Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was listed as a passenger on a private jet which crashed on Wednesday evening north of Moscow with no survivors, the Russian authorities said.
There was no confirmation that Prigozhin was physically on board and Reuters could not immediately confirm that he was on the aircraft, which crashed north of Moscow.
“An investigation has been launched into an Embraer plane crash that occurred tonight in the Tver region. According to the passenger list, the name and surname of Yevgeny Prigozhin is among them,” Rosaviatsia, Russia’s aviation agency, was cited as saying by the state TASS news agency.
Russia’s emergency situations ministry said in a statement that a private Embraer Legacy aircraft travelling from Moscow to St. Petersburg had crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino in the Tver Region.
It said that 10 people had been on board, including three crew members. According to preliminary information, everyone on board had been killed, it said.
Prigozhin, 62, spearheaded a mutiny against Russia’s top army brass on June 23-24 which President Vladimir Putin said could have tipped Russia into civil war.
The mutiny was ended by negotiations and an apparent Kremlin deal which saw Prigozhin agree to relocate to neighbouring Belarus. But he had appeared to move freely inside Russia after the deal nonetheless.
Prigozhin, who had sought to topple Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff, on Monday posted a video address which he suggested was shot in Africa.