Vladimir Putin claimed that hand grenades detonated inside the jet led to the crash that killed Yevgeny Prigozhin. He also suggested that Prigozhin might have been high on drugs.
After his failed insurrection against Russian military commanders, Prigozhin died in a plane crash on August 23. His Wagner mercenary warriors briefly took over the southern city of Rostov and advanced on Moscow during the mutiny. In addition to Prigozhin and his crew of three, two other high-ranking Wagner officers and four of their bodyguards perished.
Putin said the plane exploded from the inside, citing recent information from the chairman of Russia’s investigating commission.
Putin told the Sochi conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, a think tank, that hand grenade fragments had been found in the corpses of the crash victims.
Putin claims the plane was not hit by anything outside of it. These findings refute Western intelligence agencies’ claims that a bomb caused the accident.
Putin did not elaborate on the possibility that grenades were detonated on board, but he did hint that intoxication from drink and narcotics played a role in the tragedy.
Putin added that it was unfortunate that the victims’ blood was not tested for drugs or alcohol.
It is well known that the FSB uncovered tens of millions of rubles and several kilograms of cocaine during their search of Prigozhin’s residence following the collapse of his failed uprising.
Putin said the Wagner experience in Russia was sloppy and that the Wagner group was founded illegally but was necessary. He stated there were no PMCs in Russia since the government had not passed legislation authorizing them.
Putin said the Wagner organization has signed contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry for many thousand personnel. His remarks came a few days after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with a top ex-Wagner commander to discuss the future of the notorious paramilitary organization following the death of its founder.
Officials in Ukraine said last week that some former Wagner fighters had returned to active duty, though they were now part of the regular army rather than a separate force.
After Prigozhin’s rebellion, which threatened Putin’s 23-year dominance, Russia took command of the Wagner organization.