Yevgeny Prigozhin confirmed dead following genetic tests, says Russia

 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

Yevgeny Prigozhin has been confirmed dead following DNA tests, Russia’s investigative committee has said.

After what it called genetic examinations, the committee identified the 10 people named on board the Wagner boss’ private plane.

"As part of the criminal investigation of the plane crash in the Tver region, molecular genetic examinations have been completed," a statement read.

"According to their results, the identities of all 10 dead were established, they correspond to the list stated in the flight sheet."

Dmitry Utkin, who managed Wagner's military operations, was also on the plane along with other Wagner members Valery Chekalov, Sergei Propustin, Yevgeny Makaryan, Alexander Totmin and Nikolay Matuseyev.

Pilot Alexei Levshin and co-pilot Rustam Karimov, and there was one flight attendant, Kristina Raspopova were the other remaining casualties.

The crash came two months after Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenaries staged a mutiny against Russian military commanders in which they took control of a southern city, Rostov, and advanced towards Moscow before turning around 200 kilometres from the capital.

Vladimir Putin described the June 23-24 mutiny as a treacherous “stab in the back”, but later met with Prigozhin in the Kremlin whose forces were later relocated to Belarus.

Putin has since ordered Wagner fighters to sign an oath of allegiance to the Russian state following the plane crash.

Although the Kremlin has denied having any involvement in the attack, some Western experts believe that Putin may have ordered the crash in an assassination of Prigozhin after he led a recent mutiny against Russia’s military.

US President Joe Biden has already said that there is little that happens in Russia that Putin is not behind and the former MI6 boss Sir John Sawers said it appeared that the Russian leader had ordered the strike.

“All the indications point to the fact that Putin has taken him out… he is making clear to everyone both inside Russia and outside that he’s not going to brook any challenge,” Sir John said.

“I would have thought there was some device on board that brought the plane down suddenly and killed all those on board. It was a way of taking out the entire Wagner leadership in one go.”