A photograph of Yevgeniy Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group, is seen at a casual memorial in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on Thursday. (EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to eulogize Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the chief of the Wagner mercenary group, in his first remarks because the crash of a airplane whose passenger checklist included Prigozhin’s identify. Putin mentioned in televised remarks that he had recognized Prigozhin because the Nineteen Nineties, calling him a “gifted particular person” who “made critical errors.”

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder mentioned Prigozhin was “seemingly” killed within the airplane crash, based on an preliminary U.S. evaluation.

Right here’s the newest on the battle and its ripple results throughout the globe.

There isn’t any indication to date that the airplane was downed by a missile, based on U.S. officers who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate a preliminary evaluation. An explosion was detected alongside the trail of the airplane, however there are not any indicators of a missile launch, they mentioned. The early uncertainty leaves open the chance that the airplane was sabotaged by some means, however exactly what occurred stays unclear, The Washington Publish reported.

Jailed Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny known as the crash “a terrorist assault.” Navalny mentioned Putin had “organized to kill his soldier Prigozhin.” Navalny’s assertion follows widespread hypothesis that the Wagner boss’s presumed dying was a revenge killing ordered by the Kremlin in response to Prigozhin’s short-lived mutiny two months in the past, probably the most critical problem to Putin’s rule in a long time.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denied Ukraine’s involvement within the crash. “You realize when Ukraine was talking and reaching out to the international locations of the world relating to the planes, that’s not what we had in thoughts,” Zelensky mentioned jokingly in a video, referring to Ukraine’s requests for aerial help such because the F-16 fighters Kyiv has been repeatedly asking the West to supply. “We wished help, though maybe [the plane incident] may also assist in some sense of the phrase,” he added.

The USA will start instructing Ukrainian pilots in flying F-16 plane in Arizona in October, the Pentagon mentioned. In a cellphone name with Zelensky, President Biden additionally pledged to expedite U.S. approvals for different nations looking for to switch their F-16s to Ukraine, “upon completion of coaching” of Ukrainian pilots.

Zelensky expressed due to the US throughout Thursday’s name, which occurred on Ukraine’s Independence Day. The USA “took the lead in rallying world help for Ukraine,” Zelensky mentioned. “This significant management enabled our battle and bent the arc of historical past towards good. Collectively, we show that freedom and independence are value preventing for.”

Ukraine is looking for armored medical evacuation automobiles from its supporters, Zelensky mentioned based on his workplace late Thursday. The remarks come as Ukraine’s medical professionals are struggling to maintain up with a rise in mine accidents because the begin of the counteroffensive in June.

Russia’s Protection Ministry mentioned its troops had thwarted greater than three dozen Ukrainian drones over Crimea, the peninsula Russia annexed illegally in 2014. Of the 42 drones Russian air protection programs detected, 9 had been destroyed whereas 33 “had been suppressed by digital warfare” and crashed with out reaching their targets, the ministry mentioned.

Norway will give a variety of F-16 fighters to Ukraine, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Retailer mentioned, with out specifying what number of. “We now have already determined to coach Ukrainian fighter jet pilots and introduced in the summertime that we would supply two Norwegian F-16 jets for coaching functions,” he mentioned. Norway will disclose additional particulars about further F-16 donations to Ukraine on a later date, he added.

The USA levied sanctions towards Russians linked to the forcible deportation of Ukraine’s kids. “Kids are probably the most harmless victims of battle: we’ve got not forgotten Ukraine’s kids,” the State Division mentioned in a press release asserting the brand new penalties towards greater than a dozen people and entities.

Prigozhin’s presumed dying casts destiny of Wagner’s operations unsure: The obvious deaths of Prigozhin and his high lieutenants has introduced the Wagner mercenary group to an finish, Mary Ilyushina and Francesca Ebel report. However the query stays: Which remnants of Wagner’s once-sprawling empire will Putin take over?

As a company, Wagner is “actually completed,” mentioned David Lewis, a professor of world politics at Britain’s College of Exeter who has researched the group’s illicit enterprise networks in Africa. Prigozhin can be “not possible to exchange,” he mentioned. However the Kremlin will search to copy Wagner’s mix of mercenaries, worthwhile enterprise, smuggling and disinformation campaigns, he added.

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