Burning wreckage of the Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 600 with registration RA-02795 in which Prigozhin and other members of the Wagner leadership died.
The Russian pilot received a reward of half
a million US dollars, a new identity and a job.
The new Mi-8AMTS has been incorporated
into Ukraine’s forces. After landing, Kuzminov
talked about the absurd conditions in the
Russian armed forces. For example, the
commander of his unit had his cat flown in
by a Mi-8 helicopter, which was additionally
accompanied by Mi-24 as an armed escort
during this “mission”.
Revenge after two months
The death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner
of the Wagner mercenary group, can also be
counted among the losses related to the war
in Ukraine. He was killed in a plane crash
along with other members of his mercenary
leadership exactly two months after the failed
coup attempt. The private Embraer EMB-135BJ
Legacy 600, registration RA-02795, was flying
from Moscow to St Petersburg on Wednesday,
August 23, when it broke into three parts after
an explosion and crashed near the village of
Kuzhenkino in the Tver region, some 100 km
north of the Russian capital.
The plane’s crash was caught on video.
Two condensation trails and a puff of white
smoke were visible in the sky, followed by
two explosions, according to witnesses. Then
the fuselage of the plane was seen falling
to the ground without one half of the wing
and without tail. During the crash, it twisted
wildly in the air – just like the Il-22M shot
down by the Wagners on June 24 during the
march on Moscow. The fuselage, wing and
tail fell on different places within a radius
of three kilometers. The fuselage burned up
after impact, killing all ten people on board.
In addition to Prigozhin, these included his
deputy and well-known neo-Nazi Dmitry Utkin
and Wagner’s logistics chief Valery Chekalov.
The two pilots and a stewardess also perished.
Russian Mi-8AMTS with fuselage number “Red 62” and code designation RF-04438
shortly after landing on Ukrainian territory.
If this was a political assassination, there was
state terrorism in Russia regardless of these
Wagner channels reported that the plane
was shot down by anti-aircraft missiles.
Some Western sources are leaning towards
a bomb explosion on board. Traces resembling
shrapnel holes could be seen on the wreckage.
The Russian authorities are not making much
effort to investigate. A request for access
by Brazil manufacturer Embraer has been
rejected. And a video taken shortly after the
crash showed the severed wing being dragged
along the ground by a tractor from the impact
site. Behind it, two men were walking and
picking up pieces of the wing that had broken
off in that dragging. So much for some pretence
of trying to investigate the disaster.
Pilot Maxim Kuzminov of the Russian 319th Independent Helicopter Regiment defected
to the Ukrainian side.
Mi-8AMTS “Red 62” in Ukrainian service with Russian markings obliterated.