Wagner listed President Prigozhin as a passenger on the plane that crashed in the Tver region.
A private plane crashed in Moscow’s Tver area, killing all 10 people on board.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group, was among those on board, Russian news agency TASS reported.
Russia’s civil aviation regulator Rosaviatsia also said Prigozhin was on the passenger list. However, it was not immediately clear if he boarded the flight.
The Embraer flight, en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg, was carrying seven passengers and three crew members, TASS reported on Wednesday.
“A private Embraer Legacy flight en route from Moscow to St Petersburg crashed near the village of Kushenkino in the Tver region. There were 10 people on board, including 3 crew members. “According to preliminary information, all those on board have died,” the Emergencies Ministry said in a telegram.
Journalist Daniel Hawkins in Moscow told Al Jazeera that “as yet unconfirmed Russian media reports suggest the plane may have been shot down by air defense systems.”
“Prigozhin was among those on board, or at least listed among those on board.
“Some journalists are reported to be in touch with his press secretary, who refuses to confirm it. A second jet was also in the air, which turned around and headed for St. Petersburg.
Prigozhin led a short-lived armed uprising against the Russian leadership in June, the biggest challenge yet to President Vladimir Putin’s two-decade grip on power.
Prigozhin sent his mercenaries to occupy the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and then march toward Moscow.
He called the Russian military leadership corrupt and incompetent. He complained that his fighters, who serve on the front lines of Putin’s war in Ukraine, have not been supplied with enough weapons for months.
At the time, Putin described the rebellion as “treason”.
But just before his troops reached Moscow, Prigozhin ordered a retreat after negotiations with the Kremlin, in which the Belarusian
President Alexander Lukashenko acted as mediator.
As part of a deal reached to escape prosecution, Prigozhin and his Wagner militia were granted asylum in Belarus.
More to follow