A plane crash in Russia's Tver region on Wednesday included the name of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group, on its passenger list, according to the Federal Air Transport Agency.
The crash resulted in the deaths of ten individuals, including three crew members and seven passengers. However, it remains uncertain whether Prigozhin was actually on the plane.
The crash involved an Embraer aircraft near the town of Kuzhenkino, and all on board were killed. Eight bodies have been recovered as of the report. The White House National Security Council spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, commented on the crash, linking it to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the Wagner Group's actions.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the incident, and an investigation has been launched. Prigozhin, who heads the private paramilitary organization Wagner Group, played a significant role in Russia's invasion of Ukraine and later led an insurrection against the Russian military.
Prigozhin allegedly reached an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin, avoiding prosecution and relocating to Belarus. The two reportedly met face to face on June 29, shortly after the failed coup attempt.
Prigozhin's last public appearance was in a video dated August 21 from an undisclosed location in Africa. He was instrumental in launching the Wagner Group during the early stages of the Ukraine-Russia conflict around 2014.
In 2018, U.S. prosecutors charged Prigozhin for his suspected involvement in funding the Internet Research Agency (IRA), described as a Russian "troll farm" aiming to increase political and social tensions in the U.S., including interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The Department of Justice accused the IRA of conspiring to "defraud the United States" through tactics like posing as U.S. citizens and creating false online personas.
This incident is part of an ongoing story, and further updates are expected.