Ukraine latest: Video shows Cemetery of Wagner soldiers 'demolished'; officials find flight recorder at plane crash site (2023)

key point
  • Flight recorder found at Prigozhin plane crash site
  • Russia: Kremlin's allegations in Prigozhin's death 'absolutely a lie'
  • UK official says Prigozhin's death 'likely'
  • Wagner fighters urge 'revenge'
  • Ukraine counteroffensive reaches 'decisive moment' | Michael Clarke
  • Are these pictures of the interior of Prigozhin's plane?
  • Listen: What's next for Putin and Ukraine?
  • To answer your question: Can Russia keep Donbass in exchange for Ukraine joining NATO?
  • Emily Mee reports from the scene


Belarus president claims he warned Prigozhin about 'assassination attempt'

We previously brought you comments from Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who said he did not believe Vladimir Putin had assassinated Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The head of the private military organization is believed to have died in a plane crash this week.

Further comments from Lukashenko were shared by Belarusian state news agency BELTA, which quoted Lukashenko as saying he had warned Prigozhin of the previous assassination attempt.

"The last time we flew on Emirates, I received very serious information from sources, very deep, about the murder of Yevgeny Prigozhin," he said.

“[I instructed] within two hours they had located the Russian ambassador to the UAE and called him. I sent a coded message to the Kremlin, Putin and Boltnikov about the impending attack on Prigo Ren's assassination attempt."

Lukashenko said he later checked with Prigozhin whether he had received the messages, and the Wagner leader replied that he had.


Biden: We're trying to find out how Prigozhin's plane was shot down

Joe Biden has commented on the fate of Wagner boss Evgeny Prigozhin, saying the US is trying to "determine" how his plane was shot down.

Prigozhin is believed to have died in Wednesday's plane crash, the cause of which remains unclear.

A US intelligence source said yesterday that preliminary investigations indicated an explosion on board the plane.

When asked about it earlier, the US president said he knew little about it since he had just finished training.


Russian attack on Nikopol kills civilians

Russian troops launched an attack on the city of Nikopol in the Dnepropetrovsk region of central Ukraine.

Regional Governor Serhii Lysak said a 59-year-old man died.

Two houses, a power line, a gas line and a car were damaged.

Nikopol is across the river from the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, currently occupied by Russian troops.


Ukrainian commander says Russia is regrouping in east

Moscow's troops are regrouping in occupied eastern Ukraine for a new offensive, a senior Ukrainian commander said.

Colonel Alexander wrote: "After a month of intense fighting, with heavy losses in the direction of Kupiansk and Leman, the enemy is regrouping its forces and means, while driving newly formed brigades and divisions from the territory of the Russian Federation." Telegram Syrskyi on. .

The main goal of these measures is to "increase the level of combat potential and resume active offensive operations," said Ukrainian Army Ground Forces Commander Shirsky.

Although he gave no further details of the reorganization, he said troops continued to carry out heavy artillery, mortar attacks and airstrikes.

"In this situation, we must quickly take all measures to strengthen the defense of the threatened line and advance as far as possible," he said.

Ukrainian regional authorities earlier this month announced a mandatory evacuation of civilians near the Kupiansk front due to daily Russian shelling.


Russian intelligence chief may have been linked to Prigozhin's 'death': report

It has been suggested that Russia's GRU intelligence chief may have been behind the death of Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.

British and Ukrainian intelligence sources told i that Major General Andrei Avyanov was holding discussions on issues related to the plane crash that is believed to have killed Prigorzhin.

The Kremlin has denied ordering the assassination of the leader of the mercenary group.

I said that British intelligence agencies investigating the accident were keeping an open mind about what happened and who, if anyone, was behind it.

Earlier, our security and defense analyst Professor Michael Clarke said Mr Aveyanov was being considered to succeed Prigorzhin as head of Wagner's Africa operations.

Avyanov heads the Russian military intelligence unit GRU 29155, which operates on foreign soil on orders from Vladimir Putin.

The unit has been linked to multiple murders, including that of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.


Prigozhin received gold bars during last trip to Africa

Yevgeny Prigozhin reportedly received gold bars during his last visit to Africa.

Five Sudanese RSF commanders reportedly brought gold from mines controlled by Wagner to Prigozhin.

The Rapid Support Forces is a paramilitary organization that relied on Prigozhin's help during the war against Prigozhin's government.

Commanders thanked Wagner leaders for providing them with surface-to-air missiles, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Prigozhin apparently told them: "I need more gold."

The Wagnerian leader arrived in Africa on Friday. Some 5,000 Wagner fighters are deployed across the continent to defend Russian interests.

Prigozhin is believed to have died in a plane crash on Wednesday.


Graves of Wagner soldiers 'destroyed' in Russian cemetery

By Olive Enokido-Lineham, OSINT Producer

A Wagner supporter has claimed that the graves of mercenaries in Russian cemeteries have been "destroyed".

A video circulated on the Russian Telegram channel and confirmed by Sky News shows a supporter of the group standing in a cemetery known to be where Wagner's troops are buried, as he is heard saying "everything has been demolished". .

"This is blasphemy. People died for Russia and you bulldozed all their graves," said the man, wearing a PMC Wagner Group T-shirt.

The images were taken at the cemetery in the town of Nikolayevka, located in the Samara region of southwestern Russia.

The video then shows a stack of crosses that appear to have the date 2023 written on them, along with colorful crowns.

The man added: "Where the work is being done, there are graves."

"It's unclear what happened, all the crosses and crowns have been collected," he said.

Fighters from the Wagner Group have been crucial to some of Moscow's successes in Ukraine, including capturing the eastern city of Bakhmut in May after months of bloody fighting.

However, doubts remain over the future of the mercenary group following the crash of a private jet linked to Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin on Wednesday night. Russian aviation authorities said Prigozhin was one of 10 people on board.


Ukrainian official says F-16 fighter jets will 'radically' change battlefield situation

One official said the deployment of the F-16 fighter jets would have a major impact on Ukraine's counteroffensive.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, said the current air situation with Russia was "not equivalent".

But Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway have pledged to supply Ukraine with modern F-16 fighter jets.

"Believe me, once the F-16 comes out and is used to the maximum by our armed forces, the situation before us will change fundamentally," Danilov told Radio Liberty.

U.S. and NATO officials say the planes are unlikely to be in service until next year.

Danilov said Ukraine was continuing its "complex operations" aimed at minimizing casualties.

"If anyone thinks this is a piece of cake, we can quickly achieve the goal we set for ourselves - the liberation of all our territories, remember, the enemy is strong," he said.

"The enemy has certain defensive systems and protective structures that he has been able to build there."


Russian authorities find flight recorders at scene of Prigorzhin plane crash

Russia's Investigative Committee said the flight cash register of Yevgeny Prigozhin's plane was found at the crash site.

Russian authorities said the private jet crashed on Wednesday, killing all 10 people on board.

Prigozhin is believed to have been on the plane, but his death has not been confirmed.

According to the investigative committee, genetic tests are currently being carried out on the bodies found at the accident scene.

He added that the investigation "will scrutinize all possible versions of what happened".


Rumors keep emerging about who could replace Prigozhin

Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner Group is being disbanded in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe, but Vladimir Putin may have plans to build it in Africa.

“It is almost certain that the African part of Wagner will remain where it is because it serves President Putin’s purposes and that of Russia as a whole,” we said.Security and Defense Analyst Michael Clarkedice.

One strong rumor is that Major General Andrei Aveyanov, head of the GRU's covert operations department, may be preparing to succeed Prigozhin.

Clark said Avyanov was dealing with Russia's "dirty tricks," such as the poisoning of spy Alexander Litvinenko.

He added that replacing Prigozhin with Aveyanov "made sense because the GRU were always close to Wagner because of what they did."

Clark said the move would also "give Putin more power and control over Wagner's operations in Africa, something he certainly doesn't want to prevent".


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