United States President Joe Biden has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the death of Wagner CEO Yevgeny Prigozhin in an aircraft crash.
The 10 passengers on an Embraer business plane that crashed on Wednesday, August 23, between Moscow and St. Petersburg, included Prigozhin and senior Wagner commander Dmitry Utkin.
Speaking after a briefing, Biden said he was not surprised about the plane crash because nothing happened in Russia without Putin’s knowledge, The Guardian reported.
“I don’t know for a fact what happened, but I’m not surprised.
“There’s not much that happens in Russia that Putin’s not behind. But I don’t know enough to know the answer.”
Prigozhin’s death warning to Russian elites
Sharing Biden’s sentiment, Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said the plane crash was “a signal from Putin to Russia’s elites ahead of the 2024 elections. ‘Beware! Disloyalty equals death.”
The tragic incident happened exactly two months after Wagner’s forces marched on Moscow following Prigozhin’s longstanding feud with the military.
Russian journalist Ksenia Sobchak, whose father Putin once described as his mentor, shared the same sentiment that Prigozhin’s death is a warning to Russian elites.
Sobchak, via Telegram, said:
“Absolutely clear signal to all the elites, in fact. To everyone who had any seditious thoughts.”