In a startling revelation, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday that traces of explosives were found in the remains of victims from the plane crash that killed Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, in August.
"The head of the investigative committee reported to me a few days ago. Fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of the victims of the air disaster. There was no external impact on the plane," Putin stated during a televised conference.
The plane crash that took the life of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a key figure in Russia's private military company Wagner, has been shrouded in mystery. The latest findings add another layer of complexity to an already convoluted case. Putin's revelation about the presence of explosive traces raises more questions than it answers, casting doubt on initial theories about the cause of the crash.
Putin's broader vision
In a separate development, Putin spoke at the annual Valdai Club meeting about Russia's broader mission.
He criticized the West for maintaining a global "hegemony" and for constantly needing an enemy.
According to Putin, "We haven’t started the so-called war in Ukraine. On the contrary, we’re trying to end it." He also shifted the blame for the Ukrainian conflict onto the Kyiv government, stating they initiated the war nearly a decade ago with direct support from Western nations.
A new world order?
Putin went on to discuss his vision for a new world order, emphasizing that Russia's actions in Ukraine are not motivated by territorial ambitions. Instead, he sees the conflict as a struggle over the principles that will underpin this new world order.
Putin insisted that lasting peace can only be achieved when everyone feels safe and respected, and when there is a global balance of power.
The Russian President's statements offer a glimpse into the complex interplay of domestic and international issues that Russia is currently navigating.
While the investigation into the Prigozhin plane crash continues, Putin's comments on Russia's role on the world stage indicate a strategic long-term vision that is both assertive and controversial.