In a tragic incident, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was killed in a plane crash near Moscow. Prigozhin, known as "Putin's Chef," was on board a private jet along with seven other passengers and three crew members when the plane crashed on its way from Moscow to St. Petersburg. None of the individuals on board survived the crash.
Prigozhin gained prominence as a caterer for Kremlin events before founding the Wagner private military company. His forces, known as the Wagner Group, played a significant role in the battle over the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which led to frequent criticism from Prigozhin towards the Russian Ministry of Defense.
It is unclear if Prigozhin owned the plane that crashed, as unconfirmed media reports suggest. Investigations are currently underway to determine the cause of the crash. The Russian aviation agency, Rosaviatsia, confirmed the incident and stated that the authorities are examining the wreckage.
Before news of Prigozhin's death was confirmed, President Joe Biden expressed that he would not be surprised by the mercenary leader's untimely demise. However, he did not have enough information to determine whether Putin was involved.
In other news, a Russian missile struck a school in Romny, Ukraine, resulting in the death of several individuals, while four passersby were injured. Canada has also imposed sanctions on individuals and organizations associated with Russia's military, nuclear, and finance sectors. Additionally, a Norwegian P-8 Poseidon plane was intercepted by a Russian jet while approaching the Russian border, and Ukrainian pilots have arrived in Denmark for training on flying F-16 combat aircraft.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian survey revealed that over 90% of Ukrainians are unwilling to give up land to Russia to end the war, while less than 5% are willing to do so. President Zelenskyy dismissed a New York Times report criticizing Ukraine's military tactics, stating that Ukraine will not give up any territories. Furthermore, attacks in Russian-held Crimea and Moscow have caused damage to a missile defense system and a building, respectively, prompting criticism of the Russian military's inability to neutralize Ukraine's ability to strike.
As investigations continue into the plane crash and tensions remain high between Russia and Ukraine, the situation in the region remains volatile and uncertain.