Speculations are mounting that the doomed plane crash that killed Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, who staged a mutiny against Putin just two months ago, might be because of a bomb hidden in a crate of wine.
The Embraer Legacy 600 executive jet was carrying the Wagner boss and nine other members when it spiralled and plummeted with a plume of smoke on Wednesday just northwest of Moscow.
Initial intelligence from US officials said the crash is the result of an assassination plot caused by a bomb placed on the aircraft or some other form of sabotage while rulling out surface-to-air missile attack.
Official information on the crash and its cause is scant but one of the theories spreading on Russian social media sites is that a bomb had been planted onboard Prigozhin’s plane, possibly concealed inside a crate of wine, reported the Telegram channel VChK-OGPU, which is linked to Russian security services.
“Supposedly someone testified that at the very last moment, a certain gift consisting of a crate of expensive wine was loaded unto the plane,” wrote VChK-OGPU. “And now they are looking into claims that the crate may have contained a bomb.”
Prigozhin played an important in advancing Russian military during the Ukraine war and for years was considered a trusted ally to the Kremilin but in June he staged a mutinty that threatened Russian president Vladmir Putin. As a result, he was lambasted by Putin as a “traitor”.
A day after the crash, Putin broke his silence and offered condolences to families of the victims and noted that the paramilitary chief had made some serious mistakes in life.
“I want to express my most sincere condolences to the families of all the victims. It’s always a tragedy,” Putin said in televised remarks.
“I had known Prigozhin for a very long time, since the start of the 90s. He was a man with a difficult fate, and he made serious mistakes in life.”