Ukraine’s border guards say Prigozhin's plane crash did not affect Wagner PMC's activity near Ukrainian border
The alleged death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner PMC, hasn't impacted the actions of his hired fighters along the Ukraine border. Their presence in Belarus is decreasing
Andriy Demchenko, the spokesperson of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, shared this information during the telethon.
"The situation along our border remains generally stable, just as it was. We haven't observed any unusual activities. Regarding the presence of mercenaries in Belarus, even before August 23 and the events in Russia, we had noticed a gradual decline in their numbers. Since August 23, their numbers have continued to decrease," he stated.
Demchenko also suggested that the approach towards the mercenaries in Belarus should change following the incident involving Prigozhin's plane crash.
He pointed out that many Wagner mercenaries left for Russia, using vacation as a cover, but then they did not return to Belarus.
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