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Putin suggests plane of Wagner boss Prigozhin was blown up by hand grenades on board

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday (Oct 5) suggested that the plane crash which killed Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in August was caused by hand grenades detonating inside the aircraft, not by a missile attack.

The private Embraer jet on which Prigozhin was travelling to St Petersburg crashed north of Moscow killing all 10 people on board on Aug 23, including two other top Wagner figures, Prigozhin’s four bodyguards and a crew of three.

Putin suggested the plane was blown up from inside, saying that the head of Russia’s investigative committee had reported to him a few days ago.

“Fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of those killed in the crash,” Putin told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

“There was no external impact on the plane – this is already an established fact,” Putin said, seemingly rubbishing assertions by unidentified US officials who said shortly after the crash that they believed it had been shot down.

Putin did not give any more details about how a grenade or grenades could have been detonated on board, but said he thought investigators were wrong to have not carried out alcohol and drug tests on the bodies of those who died in the crash.

“In my opinion, such an examination should have been carried out but it was not,” Putin said.

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