Disasters & Accidents

Russia says it found flight recorders, 10 bodies near Prigozhin crash site

Moscow, Aug 26 (EFE).- The Russian investigators have recovered flight recorders and 10 bodies near the plane crash site that allegedly killed Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.

“The investigators seized the flight recorders, a detailed examination of the scene is ongoing,” the Russian Investigative Committee said, per the state-run TASS news agency.

“At present, items and documentation that are important for establishing all the circumstances of the crash are also being seized, and the necessary forensic examinations will be ordered.”

The bodies found presumably belonged to the three crew members and 10 passengers on the plane.

But the bodies have burned beyond recognition and need DNA test to identify them.

The local media had speculated that the black boxes might have been stolen to prevent an investigation into the crash that killed 10 people on Wednesday.

Independent Russian media believes the crash was an assassination.

The Kremlin on Friday dismissed Western media accusations that Prigozhin was killed in the plane crash on its order.

“All of them are absolute lies,” Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a virtual press conference held after a gap of three weeks.

“Naturally, there are many speculations over this plane crash, and the tragic death of the passengers, including Yevgeny Prigozhin,” said Peskov.

Meanwhile, US official sources told the Wall Street Journal that the crash was an assassination, not by a surface-to-air missile but with a bomb inside the aircraft.

The Pentagon had also ruled out the possibility of a missile hit.

Putin broke his silence Thursday, 24 hours after the crash.

He called the Wagner chief “a talented man” and businessman who “made serious mistakes in his life, but achieved the right results.”

Putin’s comments came after several analysts and media outlets suggested he could be behind the crash that killed Prigozhin, last seen in a video supposedly shot in Africa.

Putin called the Wagner chief a traitor after he mutinied in June.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko also ruled out Kremlin’s role in the mysterious crash.

“I cannot say who did it. I am not going to act as a lawyer, not even for my older brother. But I know Putin (…) That is why I cannot imagine that Putin has done it, that Putin is guilty,” Lukashenko said, according to the official BELTA news agency.

The Belarusian leader said he did not have to “guarantee Prigozhin’s safety” when he mediated after the mercenary chief rebelled against the Kremlin in June.

The private military chief visited Belarus in recent weeks, where the Wagnerites are setting their new base and are training Belarusian special units near the border with Poland.

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