The Kremlin said Wednesday that the crash that caused the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of private military force Wagner, who died in Russia last week, may have been the result of “willful misconduct.”
The investigators have not yet clarified an official cause, but “different versions” of what happened are “considered,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Peskow told reporters during his daily conference call that possible causes include “let’s say willful misconduct.”
He said the Russian investigative committee has not yet completed its investigation into the wreck. The committee last week opened a criminal case over flight safety violations, a standard charge used in investigations into plane crashes in Russia when no crime is suspected.
RUSSIA WAIVES INVESTIGATION IN PRIGOZHIN CRASH UNDER INTERNATIONAL RULES: REPORT
The Kremlin spokesman said there could be no international investigation prompted by the Center for Research and Prevention of Air Accidents in Brazil into the United Nations civil aviation regulations.
Prigozhin and several of his top lieutenants, including his deputy and Wagner’s chief of logistics, were among ten people who boarded a business jet that crashed halfway between Moscow and St Petersburg last Wednesday, August 23. Nobody survived the crash.
The crash immediately sparked speculation that it might have been intentional, as it came exactly two months after Prigozhin’s armed march toward Moscow to protest Russia’s military leadership.
White House points finger at Russia in Prigozhin death: ‘Very clear what happened here’
The incident was seen as the largest armed uprising against President Vladimir Putin’s authority in his 23-year rule.
Some experts speculate that Putin ordered the assassination, but the Kremlin denied any involvement in the crash.
Ukraine, which Russia invaded last year and against which it continues to wage war, also denied involvement.
Putin said the passengers made “a significant contribution” to the fighting in Ukraine.
“We remember it, we know it, and we will not forget it,” he said.
Putin does not plan to attend Prigozhin’s funeral
Prigozhin was buried in a private ceremony in his native St. Petersburg.
The incident remained classified until spokesmen for the mercenary leader announced the location of his grave Tuesday night.
It’s also not immediately clear why multiple high-ranking Wagner members, who are normally concerned about their safety, boarded the same flight.
It took days for the Kremlin to even confirm that Prigozhin had died in the crash.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
A preliminary assessment by US intelligence concluded that a deliberate explosion caused the crash. Witnesses at the scene of the accident confirmed a loud explosion before the plane crashed, and videos at the scene of the accident show the plane being badly damaged and falling out of the sky.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.