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Friday, August 25, 2023

Plane crash in Tver Oblast - Wagner leadership wiped out !!

Plane crash in Tver Oblast - Wagner leadership wiped out !!


Tver  is a city and the administrative centre of Tver Oblast, Russia. It is situated at the confluence of the Volga and Tvertsa rivers.  The city is situated where three rivers meet, splitting the town into northern and southern parts by the Volga, and divided again into quarters by the Tvertsa River, which splits the left (northern) bank into east and west halves, and the Tmaka River which does the same along the southern bank. 

Tver Oblast  is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast). Its administrative center is the city of Tver.  Tver Oblast is a region of lakes, such as Seliger and Brosno. Much of the remaining area is occupied by the Valdai Hills, where the Volga, the Western Dvina, and the Dnieper have their source. Tver Oblast is one of the tourist regions of Russia with a modern tourist infrastructure.  This place is in news for wrong reasons !! 

The Wagner Group   is a Russian state-funded private military company (PMC) controlled until 2023 by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former close ally of Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. The Wagner Group has used infrastructure of the Russian Armed Forces.  Reports suggest that Wagner has been used as a proxy by the Russian government, allowing the Russian state to have plausible deniability for military operations abroad, and thereby hiding the true casualties of Russia's foreign interventions.  The group came to prominence during the War in Donbas in Ukraine, where it helped pro-Russian separatist forces from 2014 to 2015.  It has supported regimes friendly with Putin's Russia, including in the civil wars in Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, and Mali.  Wagner operatives have been accused of war crimes.  Wagner played a significant role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine,  for which it recruited Russian prison inmates for frontline combat. 

Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin  was  a Russian oligarch and leader of the Wagner private military company. He was a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin until he launched a rebellion in June 2023.  Prigozhin was sometimes referred to as "Putin's chef" because he owned restaurants and catering businesses that provided services to the Kremlin.  Once a convict in the Soviet Union, Prigozhin controlled a network of influential companies whose operations, according to a 2022 investigation, were "tightly integrated with Russia's Defence Ministry and its intelligence arm, the GRU".  

On 23 August 2023, an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet, reportedly en route from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, crashed near Kuzhenkino in Tver Oblast, Russia, killing ten people, including three crew members.  According to the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency, the flight's passenger list included Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, co-founder Dmitry Utkin, and head of logistics and security Valery Chekalov.  .. ..  wiping out the top management of Wagner.


After the plane crash killing the  Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin (the man pictured at the start) came down in Russia, there remain plenty of questions. What caused the crash?  Was Prigozhin really on board? The US says it's "likely" he was - but when he finally spoke about the crash - some 24 hours later - Russian President Vladimir Putin chose his words carefully. US officials are among those who think it's "likely" the Wagner leader was on board the crashed plane.   

Various theories have emerged as to what brought the plane down. It has been reported that a surface-to-air missile may have struck the plane, but the Pentagon has said it has no indication that one was used. A US official has told the BBC’s US partner network CBS that an explosion on board was a more probable cause - and that it was possible a bomb went off.  Fingers have been pointed at members of the Russian leadership, thought there is no proof that any of them were involved. Breaking his silence on the incident, Putin called it a “tragedy” and reiterated that an investigation was under way. Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country had nothing to do with the crash.  

Factually the aircraft - an Embraer-135 (EBM-135BJ) - was flying from Moscow to St Petersburg on Wednesday. It had seven passengers and three crew, according to Russia's aviation authority. The plane came down near the village of Kuzhenkino, about halfway between Moscow and St Petersburg. All 10 people on board were killed.  

A day before the Wagner chief's reported death in the plane crash, a Russian official visited Libya to reassure allies that fighters from the Wagner Group would remain in the country, but under Moscow's control, according to Reuters reports.   The  military meeting was a sign that Moscow did not mean to relinquish the global network the mercenary group built up. Now with Prigozhin believed dead, the fate of the complex, lucrative web of military and commercial operations he and Wagner created for Russia across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa hangs in the balance. Wagner had waged major battles in Ukraine, fought in civil wars and insurgencies in Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, and Mali, and taken control of gold mines and oil fields along the way.  

After the June mutiny, Prigozhin intensified his efforts to bolster Wagner's presence in Africa. In countries where Wagner operates through an official agreement with Moscow, analysts do not expect much to change - for now. The fate of Wagner's purely economic - rather than security assets - may be even harder to determine. There has been no information on the fate of Evro Polis, a company Wagner is said to own with oil assets in Syria.  

Complex things certainly not understood by commoners – there are wars, war being Nations bringing lot of calamitous results – but orchestrated by some vested interests who cash in.   Sad, is the state of affairs – people should live peacefully.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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