Pentagon: Surface-to-air missile claim is ‘inaccurate’

The Pentagon dismissed reports as “inaccurate” Thursday that Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private jet was shot down near Moscow with a surface-to-air missile. 

“We don’t have any information to indicate right now the press reporting stating that there was some type of surface-to-air missile that took down the plane. We assess that information to be inaccurate,” spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters.

Ryder said the Pentagon believes it is “likely” that Prigozhin was killed when the Embraer business jet crashed Wednesday. But asked if it is possible that the plane crashed as the result of something that was planted on board, he declined to comment. “I don’t have any additional insight on that,” he said.

“We’re continuing to assess the situation. I’m not going to have any further information on how or why the airplane crashed,” he said.

The comments come after multiple US media reports said the plane was brought down by a surface-to-air missile. Others pointed to a bomb planted onboard before the plane departed Moscow for the Russian exclave of St. Petersburg.

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency said an Embraer-135 aircraft crashed in the Tver region, killing all 10 passengers onboard, including Prigozhin, his top lieutenant Dmitry Utkin and other Wagner personnel.

The crash took place exactly two months after Prigozhin launched an aborted mutiny against the Russian military that saw his forces close in on Moscow after overtaking a vital military headquarters in southern Russia.

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