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Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin buried in private funeral in St Petersburg after plane crash

 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has been buried in a private funeral in St Petersburg, his press service has said.

Prigozhin, 62, was confirmed dead by Russian authorities after genetic analysis of 10 bodies found in their crashed plane on 23 August near Moscow.

A statement said the ceremony was held in “a closed format”, and all those “wishing to say goodbye can visit the [city’s] Porokhovskoye cemetery”.

The Kremlin has rejected claim that it was to blame for the crash.

But Prigozhin has been decribed as Russia experts as a “dead man walking” since an aborted armed mutiny involving a planned march on Moscow he led back in June.

All 10 people - including Prigozhin’s right-hand man Dmitry Utkin - died in the crash in the Tver region, north-west of Moscow.

The Wagner press service gave the information about Prigozhin’s funeral in a short statement on Telegram on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the leader would not be attending Prigozhin’s funeral.

Putin remained silent for nearly 24 hours after the crash. The following day he sent his condolences to the families of all the victims.

He described Prigozhin, whose soldiers fought in Ukraine, as a “talented person” who “made serious mistakes in life”.

Prigozhin led the rebellion against the top two generals of the Russian armed forces.

Members of the media gather near the grave of Wagner private mercenary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed in a private jet crash (AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the media gather near the grave of Wagner private mercenary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed in a private jet crash (AFP via Getty Images)

His mercenaries took control of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, and were marching on Moscow - only halting the mutiny about 200km (125 miles) from the capital.

Putin at the time described the rebellion as “treachery” and a “stab in the back”, but a deal was later struck for Wagner fighters either to join Russian regular army units or move to Belarus.

However, there has been frenzied speculation that Russian security forces were somehow involved in the plane crash.

US officials quoted by CBS in America, have said that the most likely cause of the crash was an explosion on board the private jet.

Peskov dismissed rumours of sabotage as an “absolute lie”.