Prigozhin’s death only ‘a matter of time’ as Putin pursues ‘open window policy’

Russia: Footage allegedly shows jet carrying Prigozhin shot down

Yevgeny Prigozhin’s fiery death was “only a matter of time” as Vladimir Putin continues to pursue an “open window” policy where his opponents meet their untimely ends, a former advisor to Ukraine’s parliament told Daily Express US.

Prigozhin has been presumed dead after his private plane crashed outside of Moscow by air defenses. A pro-Wagner Telegram account claimed the Embraer jet had been shot down.

The mercenary leader humiliated Vladimir Putin earlier this year by launching an abortive coup that saw Wagner forces seize a city of over a million people before marching on Moscow.

“One way or another, the possible death of Prigozhin is not a surprise to anyone, it was just a matter of time,” Mykola Volkivskyi told Daily Express US.

When asked if he thought Prigozhin’s death was an assassination ordered by Putin, he added: “If NATO is now pursuing a policy of ‘open doors’, Putin and Russia continue the policy of ‘open windows’ – when [his] opponents die from car or plane crashes or end their lives by suicide.”

READ MORE: CIA chief’s eerie warning to Prigozhin one month before deadly plane crash

The 62-year-old Wagner boss’s plane caught fire before hitting the ground, according to the Russian state-run TASS News agency.

It was reported to have come down near Kuzhenkino in the Tver region between Moscow and St. Petersburg – the route was flown regularly by Prigozhin and his Wagner chiefs.

“Also in the same plane with Prigozhin could be the chief military and strategic ideologist of PMC Wagner Dmitry Utkin,” Mr. Volkivskyi said.

He added that although the deaths of its top men would be a blow for Wagner, it was possible that the group would not cease to exist but that other commanders would decide the mercenary corporation’s fate.

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Vladimir Putin’s opponents and critics have a long history of untimely deaths: falling out of open windows, not-so-subtle poisonings and central Moscow shootings.

Prigozhin started Wagner in 2014 and it is currently believed to have around 25,000 fighters.

The Wagner chief headed a mutiny on June 23-24 which saw his forces in Ukraine turn towards Russia where they seized the strategically important town of Rostov-on-Don before marching on Moscow.

The coup attempt was called off when a deal was reached between Prigozhin and Putin which saw Wagner forces moved to Belarus.

Prigozhin also agreed to relocate to Belarus but it appeared he was moving freely within Russia between St. Petersburg and Moscow in the months before his death.

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