(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin didn’t kill himself. Or did he?
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Progozhin and the other Wagner Group leaders may have accidentally killed themselves with grenades when they died in a plane crash in August.
The plane crash occurred months after the Wagner Group staged a mutiny against Putin, leaving many Western observers to believe that Putin killed Prigozhin in revenge.
But Putin reportedly said Thursday that the Wagner plane was not downed by an “external impact,” claiming that grenade fragments were found in some of the recovered bodies.
“The head of the Investigative Committee briefed me just the other day. Fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of those killed in the crash,” Putin said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
“There was no external impact on the plane, and this is an established fact, the result of an examination that was conducted by the Russian Investigative Committee,” he added.
Putin further suggested Prigozhin and the other Wagner members who died in the crash may have been on drugs.
“The investigation is ongoing, but, regrettably, no tests were carried out to determine whether alcohol or drugs were present in the blood of the deceased,” Putin reportedly said, claiming that five kilograms of cocaine were found by the in Prigozhin’s office in St. Petersburg.
“In my opinion, a test of this kind should have been carried out, but it wasn’t,” he said.
Drug use aside, Putin’s comments contradict Western officials, who’ve claimed that the Wagner plane was downed by Russian air defenses. Other officials have claimed that an internal explosion that was caused by a bomb planted on the plane.
President Joe Biden, for his part, has strongly implied that Putin likely had him assassinated.
“I’d be careful what I rode in,” Biden said in August, echoing his remark from July when he said of Prigozhin, ”If I were he, I’d be careful what I ate. I’d be keeping my eye on my menu.”
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.