Reaction to Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in plane crash with no survivors

FILE PHOTO: Funeral held in Moscow for Russian military blogger killed in cafe blast

(Reuters) - Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was listed as a passenger on a private jet that crashed on Wednesday evening north of Moscow with no survivors, the Russian authorities said.

Reuters could not immediately confirm that he was on the aircraft. The following is reaction:

*U.S. national security spokesperson Adrienne Watson:

"We have seen the reports. If confirmed, no one should be surprised."

*Kaja Kallas, prime minister of Estonia, to CNN:

"If true, it shows (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will eliminate opponents and that scares anyone who is thinking of expressing opinion different than his."

*British lawmaker Alicia Kearns, chair of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, on social media platform X:

"The speed at which the Russian Govt has confirmed Yevgeny Prigozhin was on a plane that crashed on a flight from Moscow to St Petersburg should tell us everything we need to know. Reports Russian Air Defence shot down the plane suggests Putin is sending a very loud message."

*Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau on state news channel TVP Info

"... We would have great trouble naming anyone who would intuitively think this was a coincidence. It so happens that political opponents whom Vladimir Putin considers a threat to his power do not die naturally."

(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)