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‘Prigozhin made serious mistakes,’ says Putin

Posted August. 26, 2023 09:21,   

Updated August. 26, 2023 09:21


Russian President Vladimir Putin, who maintained a reserved stance regarding the demise of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the private Russian mercenary company Wagner Group, has finally commented, labeling him as “a talented businessman who made serious mistakes in life.” This statement comes approximately a day after the passing of Prigozhin in a perplexing plane crash. The U.S. authorities are reportedly inclined to consider an in-flight explosion as the probable cause behind this incident.

According to reports by Reuters and other sources on Thursday (local time), in a televised address at the Kremlin Palace, President Putin expressed his condolences for the 10 individuals who lost their lives in the plane crash. He said, “I want to express my sincere condolences to the families of all the victims.”

Putin acknowledged that among the passengers on board were “Wagner Group employees.” He commended them as “individuals who have significantly contributed to the efforts against the neo-Nazi government in Ukraine.” Referring to his long-standing acquaintance with Prigozhin dating back to the early 1990s, he characterized him as “a man of complicated fate” who “achieved the results needed both for himself and for the country when I asked him about it.” He further said, “The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has announced its intention to initiate a comprehensive inquiry into the incident.”

Putin employed past tense verbs when discussing Prigozhin, although he refrained from officially confirm‎ing his demise. The state-run Russian news agency TASS covered the address and featured an image of Putin with a solemn countenance on its website. Notably, an image capturing an enraged expression‎ was published approximately two months ago during Prigozhin’s armed uprising.

The U.S. government is reportedly pointing towards an in-flight explosion as the cause of the recent plane crash. The Wall Street Journal reported on the same day that, according to preliminary investigations by U.S. intelligence agencies, there is a possibility that Prigozhin was assassinated through an internal plane explosion. “An explosion on board was a more probable cause - and that a bomb might have gone off,” The BBC broadcasted, citing an anonymous U.S. government official.

Eun-A Cho achim@donga.com