How Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death was ‘orchestrated by Putin’s oldest ally’

By Isaac M December 24, 2023

Ex-Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed in a bomb plot orchestrated by Vladimir Putin’s oldest ally, a Russian intelligence officer has claimed.

Mr Prigozhin, who was killed when his plane crashed over Russia on 23 August this year, launched a mutiny against the Russian ministry of defence in June following a long-running feud with officials over the direction of the war in Ukraine.

At the time, the Kremlin denied any involvement with his death and characterised western intelligence assessments of Putin’s culpability as an “absolute lie”.

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A Russian intelligence officer has now said former KGB officer and long-time Putin ally Nikolai Patrushev personally oversaw the planning of the operation which involved planting a bomb under the wing of Prigozhin’s aircraft.

Mr Patrushev first warned the warlord had become “dangerous” with no respect for the Kremlin after he heard a phone call lambasting Putin for lack of supplies on the battlefield in Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Nikolai Patrushev (left) was accused of personally overseeing the assassination of Yevgeny Prigozhin

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

From this point, Mr Patrushev began to give orders to his assistant to proceed in planning an operation to get rid of Mr Prigozhin. Putin was shown the plans and didn’t object, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A small bomb was planted under the wing of the Embraer Legacy 600 plane, while Prigozhin and nine others waited on the tarmac of a Moscow airport for a pre-flight check to be carried out.

No one inside the cabin appeared to notice the device being attached as they waited to take off for St Petersburg, Russia.

The jet climbed for about 30 minutes to 28,000 feet before the bomb was detonated and the aircraft crashed to the ground.

All 10 people on board were killed, including Prigozhin, his four bodyguards, three crew members and two other people who were important to the Wagner group.

Prigozhin was killed when his plane crashed over Russia on 23 August this year just months after he launched a mutiny against Russia’s ministry of defence

“He had to be removed,” a Kremlin official told a European intelligence officer with backchannels of communication to the Russian regime after the incident.

The Kremlin has dismissed the reports of Mr Patrushev’s involvement as “pulp fiction”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Lately, unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal has been very fond of producing pulp fiction.”


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