US President Joe Biden reacted to Wagner Group’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death Wednesday implying that Russian President Vladimir Putin is behind the killing as he is behind everything that happens in the country.
Prigozhin was killed after a private plane was shot down by the Russian defence forces killing him along with other nine people on board, officials confirmed.
A telegram channel linked with Prigozhin’s private military company said that the Embraer aircraft was shot down by air defences in the Tver region, north of Moscow — flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
The plane was carrying seven passengers and three crew.
Biden was speaking to the reporters after taking an exercise class with his family near Lake Tahoe.
While reacting to the death of the 62-year-old billionaire, the Democrat presidential candidate said: “There’s not much that happens in Russia that [President Vladimir] Putin is not behind.”
“I don’t know for a fact what happened, but I’m not surprised,” Joe Biden said.
“But I don’t know enough to know the answer of what may have happened to the powerful former Putin henchman,” the 80-year-old said.
Prigozhin’s name was on the passenger list of the aircraft, which crashed northwest of Moscow, according to Russian media.
The crash came two months after he launched Wagner on a short-lived rebellious march on Moscow, aiming to force the removal of the country’s military leadership.
Last month in Helsinki, Biden jokingly warned that Prigozhin, whose elite Wagner force has played an important role in the war on Ukraine, should watch his step after his abortive rebellion.
“If I were he, I’d be careful what I ate. I’d keep my eye on my menu,” Biden said.
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson also said Wednesday that no one should be surprised about Prigozhin’s sudden death if confirmed.
She referred to the June uprising and Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
“The disastrous war in Ukraine led to a private army marching on Moscow, and now — it would seem — to this,” said Watson.