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Putin Boosted by Prigozhin’s Apparent Death

The future of the Wagner Group is in doubt

The presumed death of the high-profile leader of Russia’s Wagner Group has thrown the future of the mercenary force into serious doubt and strengthened the hand of Russian President Vladimir Putin, two months after a short-lived Wagner rebellion left him looking weaker than at any point in his nearly 25-year rule.

Wagner leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin is believed to have died in a plane crash Wednesday, along with his operations commander, Dmitry Utkin, and other senior members of the group, when their jet went down mysteriously in the Tver region of Russia — effectively decapitating a force that has fighters deployed across Africa and the Middle East.

The Kremlin was silent about the crash, with Prigozhin’s death unconfirmed by Russian authorities or his Concord group news service. However, Russia’s federal aviation service reported that Prigozhin and Utkin were on the passenger list and that all 10 people onboard were killed.

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