(ReliableNews.org) – When Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin ordered his troops to march to Moscow in June, the internet lit up with speculation that he would probably be assassinated in the future. So, when media reports indicated he died in a plane crash on August 23, the rumor mill went wild. The Department of Defense has now thrown water on one of the theories about his death.
On August 24, Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Brigadier General Patrick Ryder released a statement saying there was no evidence that a surface-to-air missile struck the plane. Reuters had previously reported that two unnamed US officials believed a missile had likely struck the plane, bringing it down. Ryder didn’t speculate about what might have happened to the Embraer executive jet before it smashed into the ground.
The plane crashed during a flight from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. Prigozhin, his right-hand man, Dmitry Utkin, five others connected to the mercenary group, and three crew members perished in the crash. When US President Joe Biden was asked about it, he said he didn’t know much about what happened but said not much happens in Russia without President Vladimir Putin being behind it.
Video footage shared online showed the plane falling out of the sky less than half an hour after the flight began. All bodies have been recovered from the site, and Russia has confirmed that Prigozhin was onboard. A second Wagner jet was also in the air at the time, but when the first crashed, it turned around and went back to Moscow, where it landed safely.
Experts told NBC News that they believe the plane was likely sabotaged because one of its wings was found miles away from the crash. Aviation expert Jeff Guzzetti said the plane “fell to the ground like a Coke bottle, totally out of control and missing wing parts.” He explained that new jets like that one “don’t come apart like this unless something bad happened.”
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