Russian State Services and Wagner Channels Confirm Prigozhin and Utkin Deaths

Both federal air agencies in Russia and Wagner-affiliated Telegram channels have confirmed the deaths of Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and Wagner founder Dmitry Utkin, as well as eight others who died when Prigozhin’s Embraer 135 jet (EBM-135BJ) was either shot down or sabotaged over Russia’s Tver region and crashed, according to conflicting sources.

Wagner channels and apparently witnesses from the ground, according to TG channels such as Intel Slava, have claimed that Russian military surface-to-air missiles were used to take down the jet. Russian state sources first claimed the attack was a result of Ukrainian sabotage and terrorism, and now claims have emerged from state sources about a bomb being stowed away.

The following messages were posted on Grey Zone, one of Wagner’s largest channels and considered an official mouthpiece:

“The assassination of Prigozhin would have catastrophic consequences. The people who gave the order do not understand the mood in the army and the morale at all.” https://t.me/grey_zone/20177

“Let this be a lesson to all. You always have to go to the end.” https://t.me/grey_zone/20177

“It is reported that one of the Embraer Legacy 600 private planes belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin disappeared from the radar at 18:20, the dispatchers tried to contact the crew, but to no avail, after which the air traffic controllers notified the RF Ministry of Defense and air defense units about the incident. This version coincides with the one that can be seen on the video and, based on the words, it is obvious – two gaps in the characteristic air defense and contrails in the sky. Thus, with a high degree of probability, the version with a terrorist attack also disappears, in view of the fact that there was no destruction of the aircraft structure in the air. Today is exactly two months since the March of Justice.”  https://t.me/grey_zone/20172

Notable mentions of the “March of Justice” which was Prigozhin’s armed coup that he staged in Rostov-on-Don where Wagner forces fought Russian forces and marched on Moscow, including downing several helicopters. It is exactly two months to the day since that uprising. In later posts Grey Zone also calls those who killed Prigozhin and Utkin “traitors” to Russia.

161RU has also reported today that police and Russian national guard are on standby: “Police officers and Rosgvardians (National Guard) of Rostov are being collected after the incident with Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plane, which crashed in the Tver region on the evening of August 23. — All security services have been alerted — the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Rosgvardiya and others. <…> They are being called from vacations, — our source in the law enforcement agencies noted.” -News161ru

Grey Zone also posted a Richard Wagner song, Ride of the Valkyries, in tribute. Dmitry Utkin was where the name of the group came from, since his callsign in the Russian military was “Wagner”. He purportedly chose this callsign due to his affinity for Adolf Hitler, whose favorite composer was Richard Wagner.

Russian Federal Air Transport Agency: “According to the airline, the following passengers were on board the Embraer – 135 (EBM-135BJ): Propustin Sergey Makaryan Evgeniy Totmin Aleksandr Chekalov Valeriy Utkin Dmitriy Matuseev Nikolay Prigozhin Evgeniy Crew members: Levshin Aleksei, commander; Karimov Rustam, co-pilot; Raspopova Kristina, flight attendant. The flight of the Embraer – 135 (EBM-135BJ) aircraft was carried out on the basis of a permit for the use of airspace, issued in accordance with the established procedure.” Source: https://t.me/favt_ru/1278

From all appearances there does seem to be a smoke cloud that could be left behind from a SAM, as said earlier Intel Slava also reported witnesses on the ground heard two explosions prior to the plane being downed. However to say for certainty the exact cause of the crash at this point is difficult. Full selection of videos: https://t.me/grey_zone/20163

Patrick Colwell
Patrick Colwell
Pat is a traveling freelance journalist and photographer, and holds a bachelor's degree with a focus in conflict investigation. With years of expertise in OSINT, geolocation, and data analysis, he is also the founder of the Our Wars Today brand.


(UPDATED) SITREP: Tel Aviv Drone Attack

In the early hours of Friday morning, an explosive drone struck a building near the United States Embassy branch office in Tel Aviv, Israel, resulting in at least one...

Geolocated: Drone Strike Reported in Tel Aviv

Footage and reports from Tel Aviv, Israel show a large explosion having occurred in the city. Local and security sources report the explosion to have been caused by a...