Disasters & Accidents

Kremlin says Putin won’t attend Prigozhin’s funeral

Moscow, Aug 29 (EFE).- Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the funeral of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed with 9 other people in a plane crash near Moscow last week, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

“The president’s attendance is not planned,” Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said at a press conference in Moscow.

Peskov added the Kremlin has no specific information regarding the funeral date and other arrangements. “All decisions on the funeral are made by (Prigozhin’s) family and friends,” he said.

While the exact date of the funeral remains unconfirmed, some Russian media outlets have suggested that it may occur as early as Tuesday in Prigozhin’s hometown of St Petersburg.

Although the date of the funeral had not been confirmed, late on Tuesday, Russian media reported that the ceremony had begun in St Petersburg.

Authorities have heightened security measures at St. Petersburg’s historic Serafimovskoe cemetery, a burial site for numerous high-profile military personnel, artists, scientists and politicians, including Putin’s parents.

A metal detector has been newly placed at the cemetery’s entrance and camera entry has been prohibited, according to an EFE reporter.

On Sunday, Russia’s top investigative committee confirmed that Prigozhin was among the 10 people killed in the plane crash.

Investigators said they used genetic tests to identify the remains of Prigozhin and nine others, including the co-founder of the Wagner group Dmitri Utkin.

The business jet, carrying Prigozhin and fellow Wagner group members, crashed approximately 300 kilometers northwest of Moscow shortly after taking off from the capital en-route to St Petersburg on Aug. 23.

The investigation is yet to determine the causes of the crash, amid speculations that include an onboard explosion, a technical malfunction and piloting error.

Some media reports have even raised the possibility of intentional or accidental downing of the aircraft by anti-aircraft defense units responsible for protecting the Russian president’s residence located along the route of the plane.

The Kremlin has strongly rejected allegations made by opposition figures and Western politicians suggesting Putin’s involvement in the death of Prigozhin, who had in June mounted a short-lived mutiny against the military top brass and moved towards Moscow. EFE


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