Hand grenade fragments were found in the bodies of victims in Prigozhin’s plane crash, Putin claims

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking at the annual meeting of the Valdai...
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures whereas talking on the annual assembly of the Valdai Dialogue Membership within the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023.(Grigory Sysoyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photograph through AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin stated Thursday that hand grenade fragments had been discovered within the our bodies of people that died within the Aug. 23 crash of mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s airplane.

Specialists investigating the crash discovered no indication the personal jet had suffered an “exterior influence,” he stated. Prigozhin and two of his high lieutenants of the Wagner personal army contractor had been among the many 10 individuals killed when the jet got here down because it flew from Moscow to St. Petersburgh.

There was no solution to independently confirm Putin’s assertion.

A preliminary U.S. intelligence evaluation concluded that an intentional explosion prompted the crash, and Western officers have pointed to an extended listing of Putin foes who’ve been assassinated. The Kremlin referred to as allegations he was behind the crash as an “absolute lie.”

A Russian investigation was launched however no findings have been launched. Moscow rejected a suggestion from Brazil, the place the Embraer enterprise jet was constructed, to hitch the inquiry.

Whereas Putin famous the probe was nonetheless ongoing and stopped wanting saying what prompted the crash, his assertion appeared to trace the airplane was introduced down by a grenade explosion.

Prigozhin’s aborted insurrection in June marked probably the most critical problem to Putin, who has been in energy for greater than twenty years. The crash got here two months to the day after the insurrection’s begin.

Putin additionally famous that whereas investigators haven’t examined the stays for alcohol and medicines, 5 kilograms (11 kilos) of cocaine was discovered throughout searches at Prigozhin’s workplace in St. Petersburg following the mutiny — an obvious try and denigrate the mercenary chief.

After his demise, Putin described Prigozhin, 62, as “a person of inauspicious destiny” who had “made critical errors in life.”

Prigozhin owed his fortune to his ties with the Russian chief courting to the early Nineteen Nineties and was dubbed “Putin’s chef” for the profitable Kremlin catering contracts.

The Wagner Group army contractor that he created has been energetic in Ukraine, Syria and a number of other African international locations and counted tens of hundreds of troops at its peak. It performed a key position within the combating in Ukraine, the place it spearheaded seize of the japanese Ukrainian metropolis of Bakhmut in Might after months of bloody fight.

Within the June 23-24 insurrection, Prigozhin stated it was supposed to oust the Protection Ministry’s management that he blamed for errors in urgent the combating in Ukraine. His mercenaries took over Russia’s southern army headquarters in Rostov-on-Don after which rolled towards Moscow earlier than abruptly halting the mutiny underneath a deal that provided them amnesty from prosecution. The mercenaries got a option to retire from the service, transfer to Belarus or signal new contracts with the Protection Ministry.

Final week, Putin met with one in all Wagner’s high commanders to take cost of “volunteer items” combating in Ukraine in an indication that the Kremlin intends to maintain utilizing the mercenaries after Prigozhin’s demise.

Putin stated Thursday that a number of thousand Wagner troops have signed contracts with the Protection Ministry.

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