Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that fragments of a hand grenade have been found in the bodies of people who died in an August crash of Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plane.
Putin added that experts investigating the crash found no indication that the plane had suffered an “external impact.” All 10 people on board, including Wagner mercenary group chief Prigozhin, were killed.
While Putin noted that the probe was still ongoing and stopped short of saying what caused the crash, his statement appeared to hint that the plane was brought down by an accidental grenade explosion.
Prigozhin’s aborted rebellion in June marked the most serious challenge to Putin, who has been in power for more than two decades and eroded his authority.
Exactly two months after the rebellion’s start, a plane carrying Prigozhin and his top lieutenants crashed on Aug. 23 while flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg.