From Putin’s silence to Biden’s suspicions to reactions to the death of Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner group

After the first hours of uncertainty surrounding the mysterious death of Yevgueni Prigozhin in a plane crash, reactions to his death have not abated. Saint Petersburg woke up this morning to flowers and Wagner emblems (the iconic skull and crossbones) at the group’s headquarters. A giant cross, designed with the building’s interior lighting, could be seen in the windows of the PMC Wagner Center at night. There was a huge banner outside that read “PMC Wagner, we are together”.

Prigozhin, born 62 years ago in the city of the tsars, made his fortune there and founded his controversial mercenary group.

Prigozhin’s Embraer Legacy 600, Wagner’s boss’ private plane, left Moscow for St. Petersburg. But near the town of Kuzhenkino in the Tver region, his jet crashed. Some sources in Russia claim that Prigozhin returned from a trip to Africa.

Putin’s silence

In Moscow, for now, the reaction of his former friend, the President of Russia, Wladimir Putin, did not take place. The Russian President’s words and condolences are conspicuous by their absence, and that on Wednesday, after news of the accident was released, the Russian President attended an event in the Kursk region to commemorate the anniversary of one of the most famous battles that happened during World War II. On the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the Battle of Kursk, Putin paid tribute to Russian soldiers who died in the Russian invasion, or what the president calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

In neighboring Ukraine, a country invaded by Russia since February 24, 2022 and held in high esteem by the Wagner group on some fronts, Ukrainian military experts broadcast almost live what was known of the incident.

“It’s worth waiting for the fog of war to clear…” he wrote on his social networks Mikhailo PodoliakAdvisor to the Chief of Staff of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. For Podoliak it is “obvious that Putin does not forgive anyone for his bestial terror. The very one that canceled it in June 2023. And he waited for the moment. It is also obvious that Prigozhin.”signed a special death warrant for himself at the moment when he believed in Lukashenko’s outlandish “guarantees” and Putin’s equally absurd “word of honour”, explains Zelenskyj’s adviser.

“The demonstrative elimination of Prigozhin and the Wagner commando is two months after the attempted coup a signal from Putin to the Russian elites ahead of the 2024 elections. Disloyalty is tantamount to death“But it is also a signal to the Russian military: there will be no ‘SVO heroes’. If it’s not a Ukrainian dish, it will be an FSB bullet.”

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to some like Olena HalushkaCo-founder of the International Center for the Victory of Ukraine and member of the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Center, was surprised that Russians mourned Prigozhin and “other Wagner terrorists killed yesterday”.

For Halushka, this picture of condolences once again serves as an argument to show that this is also the Russian people’s war, that not only Putin is to blame, and he asks that a similar tribute or memorial be shown to him if innocent children of Ukrainians were killed.

When asked about this, the President of the United States said: Joe Biden, assured during his vacation in Nevada that he had been informed about the incident. Biden yesterday pleaded to be “cautious” until full details are known. Still, he didn’t hesitate to declare that he wasn’t surprised. “There are a few things in Russia that Putin doesn’t have in mind, but I don’t know the answer.”

From France, the spokesman for Emmanuel Macron’s government said: Olivier Veranassured this Thursday that “There may be legitimate doubts” about what happened with the plane that crashed. According to the EFE agency, in an interview on France 2, Veran insisted that the circumstances under which the accident of the device that is said to have killed the leader of this mercenary militia linked to Russian power took place are not known.

Beyond this question, the French spokesman pointed out that “Progozhin leaves behind cemeteries and terrible disorder in large parts of the world”, for example in Africa or Ukraine “He’s the man for (Vladimir) Putin’s dirty jobs” and that his activities are “inseparably” linked to the policies of the Russian President.

In the UK, a government spokesman said Rishi Sunak has stated that they are “monitoring the situation closely”. Shortly after the incident on Wednesday afternoon Alice KearnsConservative MP and Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, assured that “the speed with which the Russian government has confirmed this.” Yevgeny Prigozhin He was on a plane that crashed on a flight from Moscow to St Petersburg should tell us all we need to know. Reports that Russian air defenses shot down the plane indicate that Putin is sending a very clear message.

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