scroll to top arrow or icon

Putin breaks his silence on Prigo

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Almost 24 hours after the plane presumed to be carrying Wagner warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin exploded midair outside Moscow – presumably killing him and Wagner’s top military commander Dmitry Utkin – Vladimir Putin has broken his silence. On Thursday, the Russian leader sent his condolences to the families of the 10 people killed in Wednesday’s massive explosion.

(For more on Prigozhin’s failed June mutiny, which brought him on a collision course with his boss, see our explainer here.)

Though Putin needs to keep things ambiguous to avoid igniting the wrath of the thousands of disgruntled Wagner troops who remain loyal to Prigozhin, he did make his displeasure with the former mercenary chief known: Prigozhin was a “person with a complicated fate, and he made serious mistakes in life,” Putin said, adding that he “also sought to achieve the necessary results – both for himself and … for the common cause.”

Complicated fate? That’s something the Kremlin and the US intelligence community can agree on. On Thursday, US officials confirmed that the explosion was likely the result of an assassination attempt, though they said the explosion didn’t come from surface-to-air missiles, as some have claimed, but from a bomb placed on board or another mechanism.

Putin is known for killing his enemies, but taking down a loyalist and one-time protege? That would be a first.


Subscribe to GZERO's daily newsletter