Putin admits guilt for Prigozhin's murder, Russian opposition politician Ponomarev says
Russian oppositionist Ilya Ponomarev believes that Putin started talking about Prigozhin's death on his own initiative and chose the least likely version of the cause of the plane crash
He spoke about this on Espreso TV.
"I think it is very important that Putin, speaking at the Valdai Forum, took the blame for Prigozhin's murder. What Putin said about these grenades, and about the fact that there was no external influence on the plane, all prove that it was him. Why did he need to talk about it? I think it was to emphasize that he was in control of the situation and that it was his decision. However, in fact, this shows that he is not in control of the situation, because what Putin says should always be taken the other way around," the Russian oppositionist said.
Ilya Ponomarev noted that Putin decided to talk about Prigozhin's death on his own initiative, and he was not asked any questions.
"Putin gave the least likely version. Everyone has seen the video of the plane crash with Prigozhin, how the plane was falling, with no wing. Therefore, with a 100% probability, it could not have been an explosion in the passenger compartment of this plane. Putin did not talk about the landing gear or explosives or a missile, but chose the least likely version, noting that it was true," Ponomarev summarized.
Plane crash with Prigozhin: what is known
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.
The US officials suggest that the aircraft, carrying passengers linked to Wagner PMC leadership, was likely shot down by a missile from Russian territory.
The Russian leader also reacted to Prigozhin's death, referring to the Wagner leader as a man with a difficult fate who achieved the 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.
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 September 6, the Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate confirmed the information about the death of Dmitry Utkin, an accomplice of Wagner PMC leader, in a plane crash in the Tver region of Russia on August 23, but they are not 100% sure that Yevgeny Prigozhin himself died.
The Main Intelligence Directorate suggests that confirmation of the death of Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is still pending.