Russia: Footage allegedly shows crash site of jet carrying Prigozhin
The plane crash that reportedly claimed the life of Yevgeny Prigozhin has prompted conspiracy theories.
Pro-Ukraine Twitter user Igor Sushko, who often shares remarks and reports about the ongoing war in Europe, described the allegations regarding the death of the founder of the Wagner Group as “likely false”.
He wrote on Twitter: “Likely false claims being made that Prigozhin of Wagner PMC was killed in a plane crash near Moscow in Tver. This stinks of Prigozhin’s own plot to disappear.”
Among the details mentioned by Mr Sushko as suspicious are the fact Mr Prigozhin was listed as a passenger on the plane, the fact more than one explosion was heard before the crash and how quickly Wikipedia pages of Mr Prigozhin have been changed to mirror his alleged death.
Mr Sushko went on to write: “There will be no body to identify. Although it would not be surprising if further planted ‘evidence’ from the crash site will be published.
READ MORE: CIA chief’s eerie warning to Prigozhin one month before deadly plane crash
“Overall, the information operations to categorically convince the public that Prigozhin is dead are way too aggressive to be real.”
After noting some have been claiming Wagner Group’s alleged co-founder Dmitry Utkin was also on the plane alongside Mr Prigozhin, the social media user added it is “difficult to imagine” both leaders of the mercenary troops would “place themselves in such a position to be killed by Putin”.
The Twitter user doubled down on his theory even after the emergence of reports claiming Mr Prigozhin and Mr Utkin’s bodies had been found, as he said the Russian state aviation agency only took “three minutes” after the crash to claim the Wagner financier was listed as aboard the plane.
He added: “The Russian government clearly prepared the announcement. Entire situation is very suspect.”
Mr Sushko’s conspiracy theory that the warlords may have staged a plane crash has found some support among other social media users.
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Twitter iser @ivke2006 wrote: “Prigozhin dead or plot to dive under the radar?”
@ianpatterson99 also wrote: “Remember. All we know is a plane came down that he was reported to be on. Moscow says he was on it. But wait for confirmation, details on how it happened, who else, and watch for retribution etc if it was indeed him.”
On the messaging app Telegram, UNITED24Media, the media account run by the Ukrainian government, asked its followers what they fought really happened to Mr Prigozhin and the plane on which he reportedly was at the time of the crash.
A few respondents appeared to believe Mr Prigozhin may have faked his own death, with one Telegram user saying: “I think Prigizin still lives. This death [is] only for [the] public.”
A second added: “What I cannot believe it’s that someone whose location has been a secret for long is actually on a passengers list. That is just too obvious.”
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On the other hand, Russian journalist Andrey Zakharov seemed certain the Wagner leader was aboard the private jet that crashed down on Wednesday afternoon, as he said: “As for Prigozhin, I can say for now: today he really flew to Russia from Africa, with him was the entire command staff of the Wagner PMC. It will be a miracle if he is on another plane, they tell me.”
A Telegram channel linked to Wagner, Grey Zone, said the group’s chief has died, although no official statement has been shared.
The channel wrote: “The head of the Wagner Group, Hero of Russia, a true patriot of his Motherland – Yegeny Viktorovich Prigozhin died as a result of the actions of traitors to Russia. But even in Hell he will be the best! Glory to Russia.”
The White House commented on reports of the possible death of Mr Prigozhin saying: “We have seen the reports. If confirmed, no one should be surprised.”
Among those to report Mr Prigozhin may not have died in the wake of the plane crash is Twitter account RawAlerts.
The account, normally sharing reports and news, didn’t seem to support the conspiracy theory Mr Prigozhin had faked his death, but rather reported the possibility he may have simply escaped the crash.
The account wrote: “Despite Prigozhin’s death not being officially confirmed, his wife reported that he wasn’t on the plane and is okay. However, this information has not yet been verified.”
News of the crash broke during the evening of August 23 – exactly two months after Mr Prigozhin led a mutiny against the Russian defence leadership.
Russia’s federal air transport agency said to have begun an investigation into the crash in the Tver region of the Embraer plane.
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