The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said that it is “highly likely” that the Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is “indeed dead” following his failed mutiny against Vladimir Putin.
The MoD cautioned that currently there is no “definitive proof” that Prigozhin was onboard his private jet which is believed to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
In the MoD’s daily intelligence update on Friday they said his presumed demise is credible and warned that his death will “almost certainly have a deeply destabilising effect” on his private military.”
Read more on Russia-Ukraine war:
On Thursday Wagner Group mercenaries made a revenge threat against Putin after the killing of their boss Prigozhin on Wednesday evening.
Wagnerites based in Belarus who will now no longer be paid have issued a chilling statement directed at Moscow.
The Wagner mercenaries said in a video, “There’s a lot of talk right now about what the Wagner Group will do. We can tell you one thing. We are getting started, get ready for us.”
The daily MoD intelligence update said, “On 23 August 2023, exactly two months after the Wagner Group’s mutiny, a Wagner-associated Embraer business jet crashed near Tver, between Moscow and St Petersburg.
“The Russian authorities claim 10 people on board died, including Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin.
“There is not yet definitive proof that Prigozhin was onboard and he is known to exercise exceptional security measures.
“However, it is highly likely that he is indeed dead.”
The statement added, “The demise of Prigozhin would almost certainly have a deeply destabilising effect on the Wagner Group.
“His personal attributes of hyper-activity, exceptional audacity, a drive for results and extreme brutality permeated Wagner and are unlikely to be matched by any successor.
“Wagner’s leadership vacuum would be compounded by the reports that founder and field commander Dimitry Utkin and logistics chief Valery Chekalov also died.”