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A plane said to be carrying Yevgeny Prigozhin, a notorious warlord whose Wagner group staged a failed mutiny in June, has crashed on a flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg, according to Russian officials. .

According to the Russian Satellite News Agency, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry stated that all 10 people on board were killed, including 3 crew members. Russian officials said one of the passengers was a man named Prigozhin, without elaborating.

If confirmed, Prigozhin’s death would mark a spectacular end to the warlord’s fast-paced career, nearly a year and a half after President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine two months after leading the Military troops staged a historic, aborted mutiny march on Moscow.

The social media channel Grayzone, which is linked to Wagner, posted that Russian air defenses shot down the plane near the village of Kurrenkino in the Tver region.

Residents heard “two typical anti-aircraft fires” before the plane went down, “confirmed by an inverted trace in the sky in one of the videos,” the report said, adding that the information was preliminary.

The flight path of the downed Prigozhin plane en route to St. Petersburg

News outlet Mash on the social media app Telegram said locals heard two loud bangs before the crash.

Prigorzhin, a former Kremlin caterer dubbed “Putin’s cook” who went on to become one of the most important leaders in Russia’s war effort, was so displeased with the military’s leadership that in A coup against the military was staged in late June.

Although Wagner’s men effectively took control of two major cities in southern Russia and shot down two helicopters and a plane en route to Moscow, killing at least 13 soldiers, Putin appeared to forgive them.

Under an agreement with the Kremlin, Wagner went into exile in neighboring Belarus, where Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko brokered a truce.

Prigorzhin said last month that Wagner’s forces would eventually be redeployed to Africa, where the group continues to fight as mercenaries in several conflicts. He said in a video on Monday that his mission in Africa was to “make Russia stronger on all continents”.

While Prigozhin appears to have reintegrated into Russia’s security establishment, U.S. officials said they expected he could face reprisals.

An image on Twitter purporting to show the crash site © @Visegrad 24

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum last month, CIA Director William Burns said that “Putin usually thinks revenge is best eaten cold”. “In my experience, Putin is the ultimate advocate of revenge, so I would be surprised if Prigozhin escaped further punishment for this.”

According to flight-tracking website Flightradar24, the plane was an Embraer Legacy jet that Prigorzhin regularly traveled around Russia and even as far as Africa.

When it last broadcast its position, it was at an altitude of 28,000 feet and a ground speed of 513 knots.

The route appeared to be the plane’s normal flight path to St. Petersburg, where it last flew on July 6.

Video of the crash and its aftermath posted on social media with ties to Russian security services showed the plane rapidly descending from the sky, accompanied by smoke resembling an anti-aircraft defense launch, before plummeting to the ground in a fireball.

However, Marsh also reported that security services were investigating the possibility of a “terrorist attack on board” as another potential cause of the blast.

Additional reporting by Chris Cook in London

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