Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed dead in a private jet crash near Moscow.

His movements have been largely unknown since his failed mutiny in June, when his fighters seized a Russian city and reportedly shot down several aircraft.

He initially appeared to escape punishment by agreeing to move to Belarus, although he was known to be in Russia at least once since then.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested he had returned from Africa – where the Wagner group is still active – on the day of his reported death.

Here’s what we know about his movements in the lead-up to the fatal crash.

What do we know about the movement of the plane?

The Russian aviation authority said the crashed plane was an Embraer.

A Legacy 600 model from that maker has long been linked to Prigozhin. It has the registration number RA-02795.

An unverified video from one of the crash sites shows debris with the last few digits of a registration number painted on – the numbers appear to be 795.

This aircraft is registered to Autolex Transport which the US government has linked to the Wagner boss.

It is presumed to have been in Moscow since 18 July as this was its first flight listed since then.

A spokesperson for FlightRadar24, a popular plane tracking website, said it’s likely the jet was wasn’t used during this period.

But there are only partial flight records for its previous travel history, with frequent long gaps when it had been travelling outside Russia.

We can’t confirm where the plane departed from before the crash, and we can’t confirm if Prigozhin was on-board.

In recent months it made several journeys to and from Moscow and St Petersburg, and has been pictured several times by local media in Belarus, where Wagner is now thought to be based.

There has been speculation that Prigozhin was travelling on a different plane, registered as RA-02748.

Several media outlets have also tied this plane to the Wagner boss.

Flight records – also partially inaccessible – show that it departed from St Petersburg earlier on Wednesday and flew towards Moscow. Its tracking data stops near Ostafyevo airport in the Russian capital.

It flew on Thursday from Moscow to Baku, Azerbaijan.

The luxury jet has flown frequently this year – within Russia, and to areas of the Middle East, central Asia and Africa.

Yet another plane linked in news reports to Wagner, an IL-76 with the registration number RA-76845, left Moscow on 18 August for Damascus, Syria and travelled to Bamako in Mali the following day.

It flew back to Damascus on 20 August and on 21 August flew back to Moscow.

This is the same day the video showing Prigozhin supposedly in Africa was released.

Where has he been sighted?

Although much has been made of the planes linked to Wagner, Prigozhin had kept a relatively low profile since his short-lived mutiny in June and confirmed sightings have been rare.

He last appeared in a video shared on Telegram on 21 August. In it, he’s wearing military camouflage and holding an assault rifle, and says that Wagner is recruiting “heroic warriors” to make Russia “even greater”.

He’s surrounded by other men in military fatigues near military vehicles, and he hints that he’s currently in Africa.

All Eyes on Wagner, a group that monitors the mercenary organisation, has suggested it was filmed in Mali. However, the BBC has not been able to verify this, or when the video was filmed.

Prigozhin’s last confirmed sighting was in the Russian city of St Petersburg on 27 July, during a summit of African and Russian leaders. He was photographed shaking hands with a presidential adviser from the Central African Republic.

Before this, he appeared in a video that emerged on Telegram channels in mid-July, in which he welcomed Wagner fighters to their new home in Belarus.

BBC Verify located the video to a new Wagner base at Tsel, about 64 miles (103km) from the capital, Minsk.

Journalist Andrey Zakharov has alleged that Prigozhin had been travelling to Russia from Africa with all of the Wagner senior leadership on 23 August.

President Putin appeared to back up at least part of this on Thursday in remarks broadcast on television. “As far as I’m aware, he only yesterday returned from Africa. He met certain official persons there,” Interfax quoted Putin as saying.

BBC

By Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com