Patrushev could have organized Prigozhin's assassination
The assassination of Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was prepared for two months and approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The secretary of the National Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev was in charge of the operation.
The Wall Street Journal writes about this with reference to representatives of Western intelligence and a former Russian intelligence officer.
It is noted that Patrushev has long emphasized to Putin that Moscow's dependence on Wagner's PMC in Ukraine leads to too much political and military influence of Prigozhin, which is becoming an increasing threat to the Kremlin.
When a mutiny against the Russian military command took place in June 2023, Patrushev decided to intervene. The secretary of the Russian National Security Council organized a "flurry of phone calls" and urged officers sympathetic to Prigozhin to "get through" to him.
“In the beginning of August, as most of Moscow went on vacation, Patrushev, in his office in central Moscow, gave orders to his assistant to proceed in shaping an operation to dispose of Prigozhin, said the former Russian intelligence officer. Putin was later shown the plans and didn’t object, Western intelligence agencies said,” the article reads.
A few weeks after his African tour, Prigozhin waited at the Moscow airport while security inspectors checked the plane. According to intelligence officials, it was during this delay that a small bomb was planted under the wing.
Half an hour after takeoff, it exploded. Eyewitness video shows that after the explosion, the jet fell from the sky with a torn off wing.
Kremlin refuses to comment on WSJ story
Russian Presidential Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov refused to comment on the publication's data, Interfax reports.
"We have seen this material, but we would not like to comment. It's hard to comment on such materials. Unfortunately, the WSJ likes to produce pulp fiction," he said.
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.
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.
Experts in the investigation of the plane crash in the Tver region of Russia on August 27 have completed molecular genetic examinations. In particular, the study confirmed the death of the founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
On August 29, the leader of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was buried in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the funeral was held behind closed doors.