Intentional blast downed aircraft of Wagner boss Prigozhin: US intelligence

Anna Zvereva / Wikimedia Commons

The crash of an Embraer Legacy 600 jet that allegedly killed Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin along with other prominent members of the infamous Russian private military company was likely caused by an intentional explosion, according to a preliminary assessment by US intelligence. 

On August 23, 2023, the business jet registered RA-02795 crashed in a field near Kuzhenkino, Tver Region, around 300 kilometers northwest of Moscow, Russia. All 10 individuals on board were killed. 

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency confirmed that Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin and the company’s co-founder Dmitriy Utkin were among the listed passengers.

Circumstances of the crash have fueled concerns that foul play might have been involved in eliminating Prigozhin and his associates, responsible for a failed mutiny against Moscow in June 2023. Reports had surfaced suggesting that a bomb or a surface-to-air missile might have been responsible for the aircraft’s rapid descent.  

The last 32 seconds of flight altitude data shared by flightradar24 seems to confirm a catastrophic failure mid-air, with the aircraft losing over 10,000 feet (3 kilometers) in that period. 

(Courtesy of 

Similarly, early footage of the incident showed the aircraft spiraling and tumbling down, rather than an aerodynamic descent, suggesting that the airframe was heavily damaged by the time it impacted the ground. In the video, a woman onlooker can be heard saying she “heard two explosions” before the aircraft began descending. 

The wing and the landing gear of the jet were found near the Lodyzhenka River, 3 kilometers away from the rest of the aircraft.

Anonymous US intelligence sources told The Associated Press that the crash was caused by an intentional explosion.  

However, according to the Pentagon, there is no indication that a surface-to-air missile shot down the plane carrying the boss of the Russian paramilitary group. 

“We don’t have any information to indicate right now the press reporting stating that there was some type of surface-to-air missile that took down the plane,” Pentagon press secretary, Brigadier General Pat Ryder said in a briefing. “We assess that information to be inaccurate.” 

Ryder did not deny nor confirm whether a bomb could have been planted before the flight. 

In January 2020, infrared signals detected by a US satellite helped confirm that two missiles were launched by an Iranian air defense system shortly before the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 in Tehran, Iran. 

Related Posts


Stay updated on aviation and aerospace - subscribe to our newsletter!