‘He made serious mistakes’, Putin breaks silence over Prigozhin’s plane crash

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reacted to Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s fatal plane crash, saying he made “serious mistakes.”

He, however, hailed the warlord, who led a rebellion against him over the summer, as “a talented businessman” while also offering his condolences, the New York Post reported.

“It is always a tragedy,” Putin said in a televised event Thursday in regards to the apparent death of Prigozhin and 9 other occupants aboard the plane.

“I knew Prigozhin for many years, since the beginning of the 1990s. He was a person with a complicated background,” Putin said of his former ally.

“He made serious mistakes in his life and he achieved the necessary results, both for himself and, when I asked him, for the common cause, as during the past few months.”

Putin also lauded Prigozhin’s business mastery as a Russian oligarch, who previously secured about $1 billion in government contracts for his catering company to provide food to the army.

He also headed the Wagner mercenary group that fought on the frontlines of the Ukraine war.

Although Prigozhin was believed to have been banished to Belarus over his failed coup attempt against the Kremlin in June, Putin claimed the Wagner chief was working in Africa as his business empire also dealt with “oil, gas, precious metals and stones there.”

After heaping praises on his chef, Putin also expressed his condolences to the Wagner forces who appeared to have perished in the crash, noting that officials are still working to examine the bodies to confirm the casualties.

“Indeed, if they were there and, according to the initial information, Wagner Company employees were on board, I want to note that those people made a significant contribution to our common cause of fighting the Nazi regime in Ukraine,” Putin said as he vilified their mutual enemy.

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