Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya hopes that the death of the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhinallows “dismantling the presence” of its mercenary network in Belarus, as well as “the threat that this poses to neighboring countries.”
“The criminal Prigozhin will not be missed in Belarus. He was a murderer and should be remembered as such.”he pointed out on social networks, hours after the private plane in which the Russian oligarch was traveling crashed for unknown reasons in a region north of Moscow.
For Tijanovskaya, who lives in exile after the fraudulent 2020 elections, Prigozhin’s death also shows that “no one should trust” the “guarantees” that the Belarusian dictator can offer, Alexander Lukashenkowho mediated in June to stop the rebellion launched by Wagner against the Kremlin.
Lukashenko’s supposed guarantees allowed Prigozhin and all his mercenaries to take refuge in Belarus, although the details of this agreement were not clear and, in fact, The oligarch’s whereabouts have been a constant source of speculation during these months.
The head of the Wagner Group, who revolted against the Russian General Staff two months ago, was traveling on the plane that crashed near Moscow on Wednesday with ten people on board, none of whom would have survived, according to official reports.
The regulator of the Russian air sector, Rosaviatsia, indicated that the flight was also Dmitry UtkinPrigozhin’s main collaborator.
While the search operations were underway, President Putin was participating in a commemorative ceremony for the Battle of Kursk during World War II, in which he refrained from making any allusion to the incident.
In his speech in that region, bordering Ukraine, Putin praised soldiers mobilized for the offensive in the former Soviet republic who “fight with courage and determination.”
Putin had branded Prigozhin a “traitor” when the mercenary leader led an uprising of Wagner fighters against the Russian General Staff and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on June 24, seizing southern Russian barracks and marching on Moscow.
But the rebellion was interrupted that same day, after an agreement that provided for Prigozhin to leave for Belarus and for Wagner’s militiamen to join the regular Russian army.
After hearing the news, the President of the United States, Joe BidenHe said he was “not surprised” by Prigozhin’s death and that “little things happen in Russia without Putin having something to do with it.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podoliak ruled out the hypothesis of an accident: “The spectacular elimination of Prigozhin (…) is a signal from Putin to the Russian elites before the elections [rusas] from 2024″.
In the midst of the lack of official information about the accident, a Telegram channel of the mercenary organization assured that Russia was behind the incident. “Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group, hero of Russia, a true patriot of his Motherland, died as a result of the actions of traitors to Russia. But even in hell it will be the best! Glory to Russia!”, said a message on the Gray Zone Telegram channel, belonging to the Russian mercenary group, which cited information from journalist Alexey Larkin.
“The murder of Prigozhin will have catastrophic consequences,” the Telegram post also warned. And he added: “The people who gave the order do not understand the mood in the army and morale at all. Let this be a lesson to all. You always have to go all the way.”
(With information from Europa Press and AFP)
A Wagner Group outlet threatened reprisals after the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin
The moment when the plane in which Yevgeny Prigozhin was traveling fell
make it look like an accident