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Russia ukraine War-Russia Officially Confirms Prigozhin’s Death

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Russian investigators have confirmed, through genetic testing, that Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group who recently led a short-lived rebellion against Moscow’s military leadership, was among the victims of a plane crash last week.

Here’s a summary of what we’re covering:

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Genetic testing has been used to establish that the deceased individuals match the names listed on the flight log.

The Russian authorities have officially confirmed the death of Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group. According to investigators, genetic tests conducted on Sunday have shown that the victims of a recent plane crash are a match with all the names listed on the plane’s manifest.

This announcement has put an end to days of speculation about the fate of the mercenary leader. It was widely believed that he had died in the plane crash on Wednesday, just two months after he led an unsuccessful rebellion against Russia’s military leadership. While some U.S. and Western officials speculate that the crash was caused by an onboard explosion, there have been suggestions that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia might have orchestrated Prigozhin’s death in response to his mutiny. However, the Kremlin dismissed these claims as an “absolute lie” on Friday.

Svetlana Petrenko, a spokesperson for Russia’s investigative committee, issued a statement on Sunday confirming the identities of all ten victims, asserting that they correspond to the details listed in the flight manifest. Among those on board the plane were Yevgeny V. Prigozhin and Wagner’s top field commander, Dmitri Utkin. Russian authorities had previously indicated that they were awaiting the results of the investigation before confirming the identities of the individuals.

In his initial comments about the crash, Mr. Putin referred to Prigozhin’s death in the past tense, acknowledging both his mistakes in life and his accomplishments. “He made some serious mistakes in life, but he also achieved necessary results,” Mr. Putin stated.

Mr. Prigozhin led the Wagner private military group, which operated in various regions, including Syria, Africa, and Ukraine, furthering the interests of the Kremlin. The group gained a reputation for its military effectiveness and harsh methods. In Ukraine, the group supported Russian forces and played a role in the extended battle for the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Russia captured in May.

Prigozhin’s Death

To build the private army, Mr. Prigozhin enlisted thousands of former prisoners into Wagner’s ranks. He also became increasingly critical of Russia’s military leadership, accusing them of corruption and incompetence in handling the Ukrainian conflict. In June, he led a short-lived mutiny against the top military authorities, presenting President Putin with a significant and public challenge to his two-decade rule. There was widespread speculation that the Russian president would not let this challenge go unanswered.

Russia alleges that Ukraine has launched additional drones targeting border regions.

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Russia announced that Ukraine conducted a series of drone attacks over the weekend, aiming to strike both border regions and Moscow. These strikes represent an escalation of attacks deep within Russian territory.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense stated on Sunday that its forces successfully intercepted Ukrainian drones in the Bryansk and Kursk regions, both bordering Ukraine. One drone managed to crash into a residential building in Kursk, causing no injuries, according to the regional governor’s statement on the Telegram messaging app.

Russian authorities also reported drone attacks in the border area of Belgorod over the weekend. Tragically, one person was killed in the village of Shchetinovka, while another drone was intercepted by air defenses on Saturday, as reported by Vyacheslav Gladkov, the regional governor, through Telegram posts.

It’s worth noting that the accuracy of Russia’s claims has not been independently verified, and Ukrainian officials have yet to comment, in line with their usual practice regarding attacks inside Russia.

Such drone attacks have become more frequent during the 18-month-long conflict. Since July, Russian authorities have reported over two dozen drone incidents targeting the Moscow region alone.

Throughout the summer, these heightened attacks, including those using drones made in Ukraine, have struck buildings in central Moscow’s financial district and a supersonic bomber aircraft stationed south of St. Petersburg.

While the scale of the damage caused by these attacks is smaller compared to Russia’s aerial assaults in Ukraine, they still result in disruption and damage.

American officials suggest that these drone attacks are intended to demonstrate to the Ukrainian public that Kyiv can retaliate, even as its efforts to reclaim Russian-occupied territory in the south and east of Ukraine progress slowly. Another objective, as highlighted by top Ukrainian officials, is to bring the realities of the war closer to the people of Russia.


It’s not clear if faraway attacks are affecting Russia’s battle plans. Recent news, including reports from The New York Times, tells us that Ukrainian and American leaders don’t agree on how to fight back. They’re having arguments about the best ways to use their troops.

Here’s what else is going on in the war:

Jets Collide: Sadly, three Ukrainian pilots died on Friday when two training planes crashed into each other near Kyiv. One of them was Andriy Pilshchykov, also known as “Juice,” who often talked in Western media about needing more fighter jets. Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, praised Juice’s work and said an investigation is happening to find out why the planes crashed. He sent condolences to the families of the pilots.

Black Sea Path: Another cargo ship left Odesa, using a special path set up by Ukraine for civilian ships. This path was made because Russia stopped letting Ukraine sell its grain. We’re not sure what’s on the ship, which is sailing under a flag from Liberia and going to Bulgaria. The temporary path goes along the coast of the Black Sea from Ukraine to Bulgaria. It helps ships that had been waiting in Ukrainian ports before Russia invaded. Ukrainian leaders are thinking about using this path to send grain again. But they’re not sure, because Russia has threatened ships in the Black Sea that are going to or coming from Ukraine.

Attacks Everywhere: Ukrainian leaders said Russian attacks killed at least two people on Sunday. One woman died in the southern region of Kherson, and another person died in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, the army there said.

Ukraine’s Air Force also said Russian forces sent many missiles toward Kyiv and nearby areas on Sunday. The air defense systems stopped four missiles, but pieces from them hurt two people and damaged ten houses in Kyiv, the army said.

Prigozhin spent some of his last days in Africa.

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Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner private military company who died in a plane crash recently, traveled to African countries before his passing. He helped make the mercenary group a strong and well-known Russian influence in Africa.

Over a few years, Wagner became partners with certain African governments that had a lot of power. This changed things in places that were already struggling, and Wagner gained its own political power too. In exchange, African clients of Wagner gave them money, as well as access to gold and diamond mines. The group’s members also got involved in various businesses, like timber, alcohol, logistics, and entertainment.

Wagner’s soldiers supported governments and leaders in countries such as the Central African Republic, Mali, Libya, and Sudan. However, these mercenaries also left behind a bad record of human rights abuses, including terrible things like torture, rape, and even killings.

On August 19, just five days before he died in the plane crash, Mr. Prigozhin went to the Central African Republic. An important advisor to the country’s president said that Mr. Prigozhin met with Wagner soldiers who were stationed there. A diplomat from the Western world, who didn’t want to say their name, suggested that Mr. Prigozhin probably met with the president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra.

Some experts think that Mr. Prigozhin might have then gone to Mali. In Mali, around 1,500 Wagner mercenaries are on the same side as the country’s military leaders.

We’re not sure how Mr. Prigozhin’s death will change what Wagner and Russia do in Africa. Smart people say that we might not see the full results for months. The leaders in the Kremlin might try to take over Wagner’s things and make them part of new military groups. These new groups could be connected to or close to the Ministry of Defense.

Enrica Picco, who is in charge of Africa stuff at a group that studies conflicts, said, “We should expect different people in charge and changes in who owns the businesses Wagner has in the Central African Republic and other places. The big question is how they will do it and how much time it will take.”\

Ukraine is still grappling with the aftermath of the conflict influenced by Prigozhin.

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Ukraine is still dealing with the mess that Prigozhin left behind on the battlefield. When Russia’s military was struggling in Ukraine last year, a guy named Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, who had been in trouble before and knew President Putin, came forward to help.

For a long time, Prigozhin said he had nothing to do with the Wagner group, a team of fighters. He stayed hidden, doing tricky political stuff, ordinary things like eating in a cafeteria, and even dangerous things.

But suddenly, he was in the spotlight. He talked about Wagner in public and brought in a bunch of people with criminal records to help Russia’s struggling war. They needed more fighters.

Mr. Prigozhin and a top Russian general named Gen. Sergei Surovikin did things that changed how the war went. But now, both of them are not active anymore.

Mr. Prigozhin died in a plane crash on Wednesday. This happened two months after he tried to lead a mutiny against the top Russian military leaders. People from the U.S. and other Western places think there was an explosion on the plane and believe that Putin might have ordered it. The Kremlin said that’s completely false.

General Surovikin, who the U.S. says knew about the mutiny ahead of time, hasn’t been seen in public since the short rebellion. Russian news says he’s no longer leading Russia’s air forces.

However, the effect of their actions is still felt by Ukrainian forces on the battlefield. This includes the strange way Prigozhin got prisoners to join quickly and help Russia’s frontline fighters who were running out.

In a Ukrainian village, there seems to be little mourning over Prigozhin’s passing.

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In a small village in Ukraine, people aren’t sad about Prigozhin’s death. Mykola Honchar lives there, in a house made of old stones. The village is part of eastern Ukraine and was attacked by Russian forces last year. This happened when the Wagner fighters were leading a strong attack.

Even before the Kremlin let Wagner cause trouble in Ukraine, the Russian campaign was known for being very brutal. But when Wagner joined the war in April 2022, they became known for being really bloodthirsty, scaring both regular people and soldiers.

For Mr. Honchar, the leader of Wagner, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, was responsible for lots of pain and damage in the war. So, his violent death would be like justice — a violent life ending violently.

“He has done terrible things,” said Mr. Honchar, who is 58 years old. “If there’s a god, god will decide what to do with him.”

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