Espreso. Global

Leader of Russian military group Rusich, linked to Wagner PMC, detained in Finland

25 August, 2023 Friday

One of the leaders of the Russian group Rusich Yan Petrovsky has been detained in Finland and is now in custody

It is reported by MTV.

Yan Petrovsky, who was arrested in Finland, is a person under EU and US sanctions for actions that threaten Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and security. According to the EU sanctions list, he was the leader and commander of the Rusich troops, which are linked to and allegedly operated as mercenaries of Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner PMC.

The Rusich group's troops fought against Ukraine on the side of Russia. Petrovsky is suspected of terrorist crimes committed between June 2014 and August 2015 in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

According to the US Treasury, Petrovsky has been the commander of the Rusich troops since 2022. He replaced Alexey Milchakov in this "position" after he was injured in the fighting in the Kharkiv region.

According to the publication, Ukraine has requested Petrovsky's extradition. Today, August 25, his fate will be decided in court. Law enforcers demand to extend the detainee's detention in order to "facilitate the extradition investigation and extradition of the offender."

Petrovsky's lawyers said that the Russian arrested in Finland denies his guilt in terrorist crimes committed in Ukraine.

The Russian propaganda agency TASS reported, citing the Russian embassy, that the Finnish side had been sent a request to meet with the Russian citizen detained at the request of Ukraine.

"Russian diplomats are in contact with the lawyer and relatives of the Russian. According to their information, on August 23, Finnish law enforcement agencies confirmed "the detention of a Russian citizen at the request of the Ukrainian authorities," TASS writes.

The propagandists do not name the detainee, but it is likely to be Petrovsky.

Yan Petrovsky was born in the Soviet Union and previously lived in Norway for a long time. He became known in this country for his far-right ties. According to the Norwegian broadcaster NRK, Petrovsky also took part in the Syrian war as part of a far-right group that fought on the side of President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Norway deported Petrovsky to Russia in 2016 because he was considered a security threat. In 2017, the man gave an interview to the Russian news site Meduza. He calls himself a "Russian nationalist and patriot."

Details regarding Prigozhin’s plane crash

On August 23, a business jet belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin, an Embraer aircraft, crashed in Russia's Tver region, resulting in the confirmed deaths of 10 individuals. Among the passengers was Dmitry Utkin, a key figure in Wagner PMC. Multiple theories have emerged about the crash: 1) the plane might have been downed by an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system; 2) it could have been hit by air defense systems; 3) an explosion might have occurred onboard.

Subsequently, the Institute for the Study of War suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin might have ordered the assassination of Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin to reassert dominance and seek revenge.

One version from Russian media indicated that an explosive device was planted in the landing gear of the plane carrying Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. This device would have detonated at a specific moment, leading to wing and stabilizer detachment.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that Ukraine was not involved in the plane's downing and made light of the situation by joking that such "aircraft assistance" wasn't what Ukraine had asked for.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speculated that after Prigozhin's probable death, Wagner operatives might continue to destabilize Belarus' neighboring countries.

In contrast, the United States believes that the aircraft, carrying passengers linked to Wagner PMC leadership, was likely shot down by a missile from within Russian territory.

The Russian leader also responded to Prigozhin's demise, referring to the Wagner leader as a figure with a complicated fate who achieved necessary results but also made significant mistakes.

ISW analysts believe that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's willingness to publicly kill Wagner's leadership is likely to prompt the PMC's Council of Commanders to refrain from publicly appointing successors to Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin. 

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