WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Wednesday did not rule out the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in a plane crash that killed Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner group.
Prigozhin was listed as a passenger on a business jet flying from Moscow to St Petersburg that crashed in Russia on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear whether the mercenary, who led an attempted uprising against Putin’s government in June, was aboard the plane, authorities said. The crash killed 10 people.
Biden, who is vacationing in Lake Tahoe with his family, said of the incident, “I’m not sure what happened, but I’m not surprised.”
In response to a reporter who asked if Putin was behind the plane crash, Biden said, “There isn’t much going on in Russia that Putin isn’t behind. But I don’t know enough to know the answer.
“I’ve been training for the past hour and a half,” Biden added after completing a pilates and spin workout with first lady Jill Biden and other members of his family.
The White House said ahead of Biden’s comments that it wouldn’t be surprised if Prigozhin was on board the plane.
“We’ve seen the reports,” National Security Council spokesman Adrienne Watson said. “If they are confirmed, no one should be surprised. The disastrous war in Ukraine led to a private army marching on Moscow, and now – it seems – this too.”
Contributions: The Associated Press