Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday made his first public remarks since the death of Russian warlord-turned-mutineer Yevgeny Prigozhin in a fiery plane crash on Wednesday.
Speculation is rife that Putin ordered the killing of the mercenary boss who rose up against the Kremlin in June, but in his public remarks he urged people to wait for the results of an investigation that will be carried out by Russian authorities.
“The head of the Investigative Committee of Russia has reported to me about this, as is correct,” Putin said during a meeting with Denis Pushilin, the Kremlin-appointed head of Russia’s occupation administration in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. “They launched an investigation into this incident and it will be carried out in full and reach a conclusion. Let’s see what the investigators say.”
“I have known Prigozhin for a long time, from the beginning of the 1990s,” Putin said of his former caterer. “He was a man with a complex fate. [Sometimes] he made mistakes; and [sometimes] he got the results he wanted — for himself and in response to my requests, for a common cause.”
“He was a talented person. He worked in our country, but also abroad, in Africa. He worked with oil, gas, with precious metals,” Putin went on.
Prigozhin led the mercenary Wagner Group for years, and fought in Russia’s war on Ukraine. In June he launched an insurrection against the Kremlin during an aborted mutiny that only stopped when the Wagner Group’s tanks were within reach of Moscow. He died Wednesday in a plane crash, as his jet flew from Moscow to St. Petersburg.