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Mercenary Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin Presumed Dead in Moscow Plane Crash

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner private military company, is presumed dead after a plane crash in Russia.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the private military company Wagner, is presumed dead after a plane crash in Russia that killed all 10 people on board. The crash has raised suspicions due to the intense speculation surrounding Prigozhin's fate since he led a rebellion against the Russian military earlier this year. President Vladimir Putin denounced the rebellion as treason and vowed to avenge it, but the charges against Prigozhin were later dropped. He was allowed to retreat to Belarus but reportedly appeared in Russia from time to time. The crash also comes after a top general linked to Prigozhin was dismissed from his position as commander of the air force. The plane, carrying three crew members and seven passengers, went down nearly 300 kilometers north of Moscow. Russia's civil aviation agency confirmed that Prigozhin was on board. Flight tracking data showed that a private jet previously used by Prigozhin took off from Moscow and disappeared minutes later. Videos posted on social media showed the plane dropping from the sky and twisting wildly, indicating severe damage or an explosion mid-flight. The crash is being investigated for violating air safety rules. Prigozhin's death is unlikely to have an impact on Russia's war in Ukraine, where his forces fought some of the fiercest battles. After the rebellion, Russian officials stated that his fighters would only be able to return to Ukraine as part of the regular army. Prigozhin recently posted a recruitment video, emphasizing Wagner's activities in reconnaissance and search missions. The crash is seen by many as an act of vengeance and retribution by the Kremlin, and Prigozhin's death is seen as a lesson to potential followers. There is not expected to be much public outcry over his death, as those who supported him may be more scared than inspired to protest.

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