Bizjet With Prigozhin On Manifest Crashes In Russia (Updated)

The crash of a business jet linked to Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin comes some two months after he led a failed putsch aimed at Moscow.

byJoseph Trevithick|
A plane with Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin listed among its passengers has crashed in Russia.
Anna Zvereva/Wikicommons/Social Media


An Embraer Legacy 600 business jet associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the infamous private military company Wagner, has crashed in Russia's Tver region to the northwest of Moscow, killing all on board. Prigozhin, who had a massive falling out with Russian President Vladimir Putin following a putsch in June, was listed among the jet's passengers, but his fate is currently unclear.

Russia's Emergency Ministry and Federal Air Transport Agency have both confirmed the crash and that there were no survivors, but who was actually onboard at the time of the incident remains uncertain. The official manifest listed three crew and seven passengers, including Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, a former Russian military intelligence and special operations officer and founding member of Wagner. An official investigation is underway.

The Embraer Legacy 600 that crashed, which has the Russian registration number RA-02795, was headed to St. Petersburg at the time of the incident. This aircraft was the same one that reportedly brought Prigozhin to Belarus as part of the official deal with the Kremlin following his failed mutiny. The aircraft is known to have direct links with Wagner.

Another business jet associated with Prigozhin, an Embraer Legacy 650 with the registration number RA-02748, was airborne at the time and has now landed in Moscow. This could raise questions about what aircraft the Wagner boss was actually on. He has a long history of using disguises and other means to conceal his actual movements.

Just days ago, Prigozhin released a video purportedly filmed somewhere in the Sahel region of Africa touting his work in the region. It's unclear when that clip was shot. Wagner has a presence in multiple African countries and there have been concerns about the group becoming a factor in Niger, which just recently experienced a coup.

There is already speculation that Russian air defenses shot down RA-02795. Videos taken from the ground have emerged where multiple loud bangs can be heard, but there remains no hard evidence of any direct action on the part of the Russian government.

All this being said, after Prigozhin's attempted putsch earlier this year, The War Zone's Tyler Rogoway had highlighted the very real possibility that the Wagner boss could end up the victim of a staged accident of some kind.

Much about this incident is likely to remain unconfirmed, or at least disputed, in the near term, even if Prigozhin is ultimately confirmed to have died.

We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.


Conflicting claims about whether or not Prigozhin was on the business jet that went down in Tver continue to circulate on pro-Russian and Wagner-tied social media accounts. The Wagner-linked Grey Zone telegram channel has notably urged people to wait for verified information.

Vladimir Rogov, a collaborationist Ukrainian politician who works for the Russian administration in the occupied Zaporizhzhia region, claims Wagner members told him that Prigozhin and Utkin had died. This, of course, remains unconfirmed.

There are also now reports that Prigozhin did indeed return from the African continent today along with other senior Wagner members.

The U.S. government has, so far, declined to confirm or deny that Prigozhin was killed in the crash.

"The President has been briefed on the reported plane crash in Russia," the White House has said in a statement.

"We have seen the reports. If confirmed, no one should be surprised," White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson told Politico's Alex Ward. "The disastrous war in Ukraine led to a private army marching on Moscow, and now – it would seem – to this."

Watson also posted a similar statement directly on social media.

Politico's Nahal Toosi has posted on social media that "a U.S. official familiar with Russia policy" said "a caterer should know that revenge is a dish best-served cold."

CIA Director Bill Burns said something similar about the potential for Prigozhin to face "further retribution" at the Aspen Security Forum last month.


The Wagner-linked Grey Zone telegram channel has now joined a growing number of Russian sources saying that Prigozhin, as well as Utkin, died in the crash. Grey Zone has also alleged, without evidence, that the incident was the result of "actions of traitors to Russia" and says that "even in hell he [Prigozhin] will be the best! Glory to Russia!"

The Financial Times in the United Kingdom has also now reported that an unnamed "Western official" informed the newspaper they had been "told" that Prigozhin's jet had been shot down by Russian air defenses, but provides no corroborating information.

There are further unconfirmed reports that members of the broader Wagner organization are receiving official word of Prigozhin's death.

Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency has now published a full list of who was on RA-02795's manifest. However, the Agency still does not appear to have confirmed whether or not these individuals were actually on the plane, saying simply that this information was provided by "the airline."


Though it remains unknown what happened to RA-02795, publicly available flight tracking data points to something very serious occurring suddenly.

Pictures have emerged showing Wagner's headquarters in St. Petersburg with a cross on the side formed by lighted rooms in the building.

It has been pointed out that the official manifest for also includes Valery Chekalov, the infamous head of Prigozhin's personally security team.

U.S. President Joe Biden has now offered comments on the incident directly.

"I said I would be careful of what I drink and what I rode in," he told reporters. "I don't know for a fact what happened, but I'm not surprised."

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