Wagner group leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin has been presumed dead after his private jet mysteriously dropped from the sky.
The mercenary boss is said to have been listed to be travelling on the private jet which was en route from Moscow to St Petersburg when it crashed on Wednesday, August 23.
Footage showed the aircraft spiralling towards the ground, with smoke pouring from the fuselage after it mysteriously started diving towards the ground. Seconds later, snaps of the aftermath showed mangled wreckage in a fiery heap.
Russia’s state news agency Tass quoted emergency officials as saying the plane carried three pilots and seven passengers. The authorities said they were investigating the crash, which happened in the Tver region more than 60 miles north of Moscow.
Mr Prigozhin, whose private military force Wagner fought alongside Russia’s regular army in Ukraine, mounted a short-lived coup against the Russian government in late June.
A negotiated settlement between the Kremlin and the Wagner group put an end to the rebellion and Prigozhin agreed to go into exile in neighbouring Belarus.
It is understood Wagner Group plunders diamonds, gold, oil, and gas from countries in which they operate as well as being paid directly by crooked regimes. And on top of his other businesses, this had inflated Prigozhin’s wealth to extraordinary levels, with some estimates putting his personal fortune as much as £2 billion.
In 2018, U.S. prosecutors charged Prigozhin for his suspected role in funding the Internet Research Agency, which the U.S. described as a Russian “troll farm” that sought to use digital campaigns to increase political and social tensions in the U.S.