Wreckage of the downed plane with the leader of the Wagner Group, Prigozhin, is noticed from space

The satellite found the wreckage of the plane that crashed on August 23 in northwestern Russia. On board this plane, which belonged to the Brazilian company Embraer and was flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg, was the Russian leader of the Wagner mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin. Among the passengers on the plane were also six other high-ranking members of Wagner. According to Russian officials, no one survived.

The SkySat satellite from Planet Labs PBC took this photo of the place in northwestern Russia where the plane crashed on August 23, 2023, presumably carrying the Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. The photo was taken on August 24. Authorship: Planet Labs PBC

On Thursday, August 24, the satellite operated by Planet and based in San Francisco took a photo of the crash site. The picture shows a grassy area surrounded by trees, where the wreckage of the plane is scattered. The image from space shows a crashed plane and several dozen cars that are presumably involved in search and rescue operations.

The cause of this plane crash is still being investigated, and it remains unknown. However, there is an assumption that it could have been a planned operation to eliminate Prigozhin.

“The Baza news outlet, which has good sources among law enforcement agencies, reported that investigators were focusing on a theory that one or two bombs may have been planted on board,” the Reuters news agency reported. US officials are also considering the possibility of hitting the aircraft with a surface-to-air missile, Reuters adds.

Planet is famous for its Dove satellites with highly sensitive cameras that are able to detect objects up to 3 m in size on the Earth’s surface. However, the photo taken on Thursday was obtained using SkySat, which has an even higher resolution and is able to distinguish objects up to 72 cm in size. 

Conflict between Prigozhin and dictator Putin

Wagner’s mercenaries have long been acting as the shadow hand of the Russian military, participating in various conflicts around the world, including the invasion of Ukraine, and doing the dirtiest work. However, at the end of June, Prigozhin led a rebellion against the Russian armed forces and even threatened to send his troops to Moscow. In the morning, on June 24, Wagner captured the city of Rostov-on-Don, its advanced columns were on the outskirts of Moscow in the evening.

But, being a few dozen kilometers from the capital, Prigozhin suddenly abandoned his plan and turned down the operation. But this incident negatively affected his relationship with Putin. Probably, the Russian dictator thus took revenge on the leader of the mercenaries, giving the order to shoot down or blow up the plane of the echelon.

Earlier we reported how a large number of military equipment was noticed in Belarus at the Wagner base.

According to Space.

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