Latest in Ukraine: Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin 'killed in plane crash': Drones crash on Russian soil - live news (2023)

key points
  • What we know about Prigozhin's plane crash
  • Photos of the site this morning as the bodies were recovered
  • Wagner's boss was on the plane, Russian officials say
  • The passenger list has been published – and it includes the captain of the Wagner, Dmitry Utkin
  • Watch: The Moment the Jet Crashed|Analysis: What does the recording tell us?
  • Contract on Prigogine's life 'weeks ago' says ex-MI6 officer
  • Diana Magnay: It suits Putin if Prigozhin is dead|Watch: Putin on show as news breaks
  • Who is Yevgeny Prigozhin?
  • live report fromOllie Cooper


Prigogine 'dear to the hearts of many' in St Petersburg while laying flowers

OurMoscow Correspondent Diana Magnaystands opposite the now-defunct Wagner Group headquarters in St. Petersburg, where locals lay flowers at the monument to Yevgeny Prigozhin.

“We have a memorial here, we've been here about 15 minutes and people are bringing flowers,” she says.

"[Prigozhin] is obviously liked by many people here in St. Petersburg, it is from there that he probably recruited many of his employees."

She concludes her report by saying that his death, if confirmed and linked to the Kremlin, shows the brutal side of President Putin.

"Whatever you do for Russia, if you face the Kremlin, you can't be sure you'll come out of this situation well."

08:57:40 sati

Putin now speaks at BRICS summit

Vladimir Putin speaks publicly for the first time since news broke that the plane supposedly carrying Yevgeny Prigozhin had crashed.

He is scheduled to make a five-minute statement, according to the BRICS website, via a video from Moscow.

It is highly unlikely that he will resolve the situation with Prigozhin, but many will be watching to see how he performs after such a seismic event.


What did Russian official sources tell us?

So far, only civil aviation and the investigation commission have commented on the accident.

They mutually confirmed that 10 people had died – with Yevgeny Prigozhin and his number two on the manifesto.

The Interfax news agency said 10 bodies had been recovered from the site, updating an earlier figure of eight reported by some media outlets.

A criminal case was opened.

We still haven't heard from Vladimir Putin and we don't even have official news from the Kremlin.

President Putin attended a concert in Kursk last night - marking the 80th anniversary of the victory of Soviet troops in the Battle of Kursk - and has not faced public issues or made any statements since.

The Russian president also attends the BRICS summit – appearing almost alongside leaders from Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

We were able to collect some details from other sources – supplementing official sources with reports from Russian news agencies, collecting footage from people who saw the plane crash and photos from the scene.


Wall Street Journal's Evan Gershkovich will be held in custody for three more months, he reports

A quick look at Yevgeny Prigozhin now, as we bring you the latest news...

Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal was extended by a Moscow court for at least another three months, reports Interfax.

Gershkovich was arrested on March 29 in Yekaterinburg on spying charges – which carry up to 20 years in prison.

He, his newspaper and the US government vehemently deny the allegations, as a potential prisoner swap between Moscow and Washington is being discussed.

He was filmed arriving at court this morning...


Ten dead after opening a criminal investigation, Russia's Investigative Committee announced

We have just received a statement from the Russian Investigative Committee, which is investigating the accident.

It confirms that 10 people died and that a criminal case has been opened over the accident - but it does not mention Yevgeny Prigozhin.

We forward the statement in full:

“About the fact that the plane crashed in the Tver region.

"The main investigative department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case based on the crime provided for in Article 263 of the Criminal Code.

“It is a violation of traffic safety rules and air traffic operations.

“The Jet business, on the way from Moscow to St. Petersburg, fell in the Tver region.

“According to preliminary data, 10 people died on the ship.

An investigation team went to the scene, all the necessary expertise will be investigated and a series of investigations will be carried out to determine the cause of the plane crash.

08:10:40 Saturday

Putin 'probably' behind Prigozhin's death, says former army chief

Vladimir Putin is "probably" behind the alleged death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, according to a former British army commander.

"I think it's probably more likely that even if it wasn't directly ordered by Putin, it was done by someone who knows what Putin would want and has ensured that the elimination of aggression takes place," said the former chief of staff, General Lord Dannatt, to Sky. News.

“I think that is Putin's merit, although it is in the balance of probabilities,” he added.

Lord Dannatt said that Putin would have been somewhat forced to act, had he been really involved, to secure his shaky position at the head of the Russian state.

"He [Putin] has been weakened from the moment Prigozhin began his ill-fated march on Moscow two months ago."


'Gangster' Putin in the same category as Pablo Escobar if he was involved in Prigozhin's death

Vladimir Putin would be in the same category as notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar if he were found to have been involved in the alleged murder of Yevgeny Prigozhin, according to leading foreign journalists.

It is important to note that we cannot bring you definitive confirmation that Prigozhin is dead - the Civil Aviation Authority is the only official body that claims this is the case, and there is no indication that Vladimir Putin was involved, other than be speculation on the Internet.

John Simpson, the BBC's world affairs editor, said on X (formerly Twitter) that he thought "it was inevitable that Putin would take revenge on Prigozhin".

"Russia has been a gangster state since Putin took power, but that puts it in the category of Pablo Escobar [and] Lucky Luciano."


The scene view this morning

Now we bring you some pictures of the plane crash site this morning.

The photos show bodies being removed from the crash site, as well as the remains of the crashed jet.

You can catch up on what we know by checking out our post at 6:27 am.

We heard earlier from our Moscow correspondent, Diane Magnay, that the bodies are now on their way to the morgue for further identification - after which we may be able to shed some light on the matter.


Was Putin behind Prigozhin's accident? What does this mean in the long run?

Defense and Security Analyst, Professor Michael Clarkeassessed whether President Putin was behind the alleged death of Yevgeny Prigozhin and what it could mean for the president.

"Most Russians seem to assume that [that Putin was behind Prigozhin's accident], there must be some cleanup to it...Putin is stronger because of it.

“In the long term, it increases the sense of chaos at the top of the decision-making structure.”

Professor Clarke points to Wagner's proximity to the Air Force and Russia's military intelligence wing, which he says could lead to further divisions.

"It highlights divisions within the Russian command structure ... I imagine it will reverberate [across Russia]."


‘Soon we will have more clarity’: the latest on Prigozhin from Moscow

OurMoscow Correspondent Diana Magnayhas the most modern in the area...

“Bodies are being taken to the morgue for further identification, I think we will have more clarity soon,” she says.

As for the likelihood that Prigozhin is dead, Magnay says she would be surprised if she found any evidence to the contrary, because "even Telegram channels associated with Wagner are reporting that he is dead."

As for public sentiment, she hopes that many Russians will listen to what the authorities say and ignore any claims from the West.

"People will support the Kremlin's version of events... [they] won't feel much love for Yevgeny Prigozhin... he had few friends and many enemies, so it's no surprise where he is now."


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