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Wagner head Prigozhin’s plane blown up with hand grenades on board – Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the plane carrying the head of the Wagner mercenary organisation Yevgeny Prigozhin exploded from the inside and fragments of hand grenades were found among the wreckage.

Fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of those killed in the crash.

Putin first commented on the details of the plane crash at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, but did not specify which and how many grenades could have been detonated. The president also denied the possibility of external influence on the plane.

There was no external impact on the plane – this is already an established fact.

The Russian leader rejected claims by unnamed US officials who reported shortly after the crash that the plane had been shot down. The head of the investigative committee reported this a few days ago, Putin informed.

The Embraer private jet that crashed north of Moscow on 23 August was carrying Wagner’s leader and co-founder, as well as eight other people. All the 10 on board were reportedly dead.

Putin also suggested testing the remains of the passengers, including Prigozhin, for alcohol and drugs. In his opinion, the investigators were wrong not to carry out those tests on the bodies of those killed in the plane crash.

In my opinion, such an examination should have been carried out but it was not.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) reportedly found 10 billion roubles ($100 million) in cash and 5kg (11 pounds) of cocaine during searches of Wagner’s St Petersburg office.

Prigozhin was known for carrying out military operations in the Middle East and Africa. His mercenary group fought in Bakhmut last winter, after which Moscow gained its largest territorial advance in months.

Just two months before his death, he accused Putin’s top military leadership, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Staff General Valery Gerasimov, of incompetence.

Prigozhin staged a short-lived mutiny against the Russian defence establishment on 23-24 June this year.

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