July 21, 2024, Sunday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Russia confirms Prigozhin died in plane crash

The Nepal Weekly
August 29, 2023

Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was confirmed dead on Sunday by Russia’s Investigative body following a plane crash near Moscow, was a Kremlin confident catapulted to infamy by the offensive in Ukraine before he turned his troops on Russia’s capital.

Prigozhin’s order in June that his private fighting group march on Moscow to unseat Russia’s top brass presented the tough challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s hold on power over more than two-decades.

His forces captured a key military headquarters in the city of Rostov-on-Don in southern Russian before setting their course for Moscow, where authorities beefed up security in anticipation of a showdown. ”The evil that the military leadership of the country brings must be stopped,” said Prigozhin after claiming the defence ministry had launched strikes on Wagner bases.

But the failed bid ended with Putin ultimately offering exile in neighbouring Belarus to the mutineers and Prigozhin, who then appeared in footage vowing to make Africa “freer” and suggested he was on the continent.

Before Putin, who accused Prigozhin of treason, ordered troops to Ukraine in February last year, the mercenary aged 62 head dispatched fighters from his private force to conflicts in the Middle East and Africa but always denied involvement.

That changed last year when he announced himself as the founder of the Wagner group and began a mass recruitment drive at Russia’s prisons for foot soldiers to fight in exchange for an amnesty. He gained public acclaim as Wagner spearheaded the capture of several key Ukrainian towns including Bakhmut. But Prigozhin began blasting what he said was systemic mismanagement and lying in the Russian defence ministry. Prigozhin was locked in a bitter months-long power struggle with the defence ministry as his ragtag forces spearheaded the expensive battles for limited gains in eastern Ukraine.