Wagner Leader Prigozhin 'Likely' Killed in Plane Crash, Pentagon Says

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Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was “likely killed” in a plane that crashed in Russia on Wednesday, US officials said on Thursday, August 24.

Footage livestreamed by the Department of Defense shows Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder give a news briefing from the Pentagon on Thursday afternoon.

“Our initial assessment is that it is likely Prigozhin was killed and we continue to assess the situation,” Ryder said, adding that there was no information to suggest a surface-to-air missile took down the plane.

On Wednesday, a private airplane associated with Prigozhin crashed in the Tver Oblast, about 100 miles from Moscow. Russian authorities said Prigozhin and a number of other Wagner associates were on the plane’s passenger list.

All seven passengers and three crew members were killed, Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations said. Credit: Department of Defense via Storyful

Video Transcript

- --was carrying Prigozhin that went down in Russia. Was it a bomb that took the plane down?

- So a couple things I know there's a lot of interest in this topic I'll say right up front first of all our initial assessment is that it's likely Prigozhin was killed. We're continuing to assess the situation. We don't have any information to indicate right now the press reporting stating that there was some type of surface-to-air missile that took down the plane. We assessed that information to be inaccurate.

Again, nothing to indicate-- no information to suggest that there was a surface-to-air missile. But beyond that, I'm really just not going to have any further information.

Yeah, I'm not going to go into the specifics of how we gather information other than, again, our initial assessment based on a variety of factors is that he was likely killed. We're continuing to assess the situation. I'm not going to have any further information on how or why the airplane crashed.