‘Absolute lie’: Kremlin denies Prigozhin killed on its orders

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“Of course, in the West, this speculation is being presented from a certain angle. All of this is an absolute lie,” Peskov said, urging patience as ongoing probes look into the fatal crash.

Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin who mediated the deal that ended the mutiny this summer, said he “can’t imagine” the Russian President ordered the assassination. 

“It’s too rough and unprofessional work, if anything,” he was cited as saying.

Russian officials have opened an investigation into air traffic violations but have so far not disclosed details of the probe or the incident.

President Vladimir Putin broke his silence on the crash Thursday, offering condolences to the families of the 10 people onboard and describing the incident as a “tragedy.” 

He said Prigozhin, who in June led an armed mutiny against Russia’s military leadership, had made some “serious mistakes in his life” and had had a “complicated fate.”

– Loyal ally –

The short-lived but bloody unrest had been seen as the biggest threat to Putin’s long rule.

Moscow has not yet confirmed Prigozhin’s death. Putin used the past tense to refer to him but Peskov said work was being carried out to formally identify Prigozhin as among the victims.

“As soon as the results are in, they will be published,” Peskov said.

Asked if Putin would attend Prigozhin’s funeral, he said: “At the moment there is no date for the funeral, it is not possible to talk about this.” 

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