Despite the fact that their deaths have not yet been officially confirmed, Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, the commanders of the Wagner Group mercenaries, have been reported dead in a plane crash close to Moscow. This has led to the Wagner Group’s mercenaries preparing for ‘full mobilisation’. Read full article
According to the closely associated with Prigozhin Russian publication Readovka, the private military firm has a “long-established approved mechanism of action in the event of the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin or Dmitry Utkin.”
Unaffected by who was to blame for Prigozhin’s demise, a mechanism for “full mobilisation” is in place in the case of his death, a source stated.
What remains to be seen is how the Wagner mercenaries will respond to losing their boss.
Following the accident, however, Wagner-affiliated outlets published a string of furious messages promising retaliation if their leader’s demise is confirmed as well as branding those responsible “traitors” to Russia.
There is a lot of discussion currently over what the Wagner Group will do. In one video, mercenaries are heard saying, “We can tell you one thing.”
‘Get ready for us, we’re starting now.’
It comes after Sir John Sawyers, the former head of MI6, said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “All the signs point to the fact that Putin has taken him out, and he is reasserting his control.”
He is making it clear to everyone—both inside and outside of Russia—that he won’t take any challenges lying down.
There is a small probability that Prigozhin is still alive, and if he wasn’t on that flight, he will pass quite shortly.
Although the ex-spy stated he thought there was a “device on board which brought it down suddenly,” he also noted that security agencies would be able to tell if a missile had brought the plane down.
Sir John came to the conclusion that it was a signal for other potential rebels to ‘toe the line’.
Christopher Steele, who oversaw MI6’s Russia desk while working for the Secret Intelligence Service, added to Sir John’s remarks by claiming that shooting down Prigozhin’s plane would fit within “a pattern of state-backed activity.”
The plane crash occurred ‘just one day after General (Sergei) Surovikin was fired from his position which was to be in charge of the security over the Russian homeland,’ Steele said, adding that he ‘would suspect very much that it was an FSB (Russian domestic intelligence service) or GRU (military intelligence service) operation.
He was regarded as a general who was Prigozhin’s comrade and one of the generals who was supporting him. His removal the day before does seem to point to a pattern of state-sponsored action here.
Later, the BBC was informed by UK intelligence sources that they had cause to believe the FSB, Russia’s domestic security force, was responsible for the disaster.
However, as Prigozhin’s passing has not yet been formally acknowledged, there is a possibility that the Wagner leader is still alive.