Mercenary chief Prigozhin and others listed as passengers on crashed plane

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(Reuters) – Investigators are picking through the wreckage of a jet said to have been carrying Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin that crashed with no survivors, two months after he led a mutiny against the army high command.

Following is a list of the 10 people, including other senior figures from Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenary group, reported by Russia’s aviation agency Rosaviatsia to have been aboard the Embraer Legacy 600 EMBR3.SA executive jet.

* Yevgeny Prigozhin, 62, soared to prominence after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine where his fighters including thousands of released convicts led the Russian capture of the city of Bakhmut. He accused Russia’s military brass of incompetence and even treason in prosecuting the war and led a two-day mutiny in June, defused by a deal that, among other things, dropped criminal charges against him.

* Dmitry Utkin, 53, Prigozhin’s right-hand man, co-founder of Wagner and the group’s top military commander, whose call-sign was “Wagner”. After a deal ended the mutiny, Utkin said in a speech to Wagner fighters: “This is not the end. This is just the beginning of the biggest work in the world that will be carried out very soon,” adding in English: “And welcome to hell!” He fought for Wagner in Syria and Ukraine, and was formerly a special forces officer in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service. Utkin was photographed in 2016 with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.

* Valery Chekalov, 47, whose call-sign was “Rover”, was a senior deputy of Prigozhin, according to Ukrainian security services-affiliated website Myrotvorets. The St. Petersburg newspaper Fontanka, which has been investigating the Wagner group for years, wrote that Chekalov was Wagner’s “logistician”. Until 2022 Chekalov also headed the Prigozhin-linked Neva consultancy, which was reported to have operated in Syria.

* Sergei Propustin, 44, whose call-sign was “Cedar” according to Fontanka. One of the rare published photographs of Propustin showed him dressed in black and wearing a cap, accompanying Prigozhin on a tour of Russian regions after the capture of Bakhmut.

* Alexander Totmin, 30, was among the few mercenaries in secretive Wagner active on social media, with photos from various Russian cities including St. Petersburg where he lived. Myrotvorets said Totmin had served in Wagner forces in Sudan.

* Yevgeniy Makaryan, among the more mysterious figures in Wagner whose photo and accounts could not be found by Reuters on social media. He joined Wagner in 2016 and fought in Syria, according to Fontanka.

* Alexei Levshin, 51, the senior pilot of the plane that crashed. He worked a pilot for at least 20 years, according to leaked data. Relatives told Reuters he went into business aviation “less than 10 years ago.” How long Levshin worked on Prigozhin-affiliated flights could not be ascertained. Relatives said his work was a “taboo subject” in the family.

* Rustam Karimov, co-pilot of the plane, 29, was the youngest victim of the crash. Karimov’s father told Russian media that he took a job with the aviation company that provided Prigozhin’s flights three months ago. Karimov previously worked for S7, a major Russian airline.

* Kristina Raspopova, or Yadrevskaya, according to other sources, 39, the plane’s flight attendant.

* Nikolai Matuseev, or Matusevich, according to a database of Wagner fighters. No details are known about him.

Pictures of PMC Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and PMC Wagner commander Dmitry Utkin are seen on an informal memorial in downtown of Rostov-on Don, Russia,. An investigation was launched into the crash of an aircraft in the Tver region in Russia on 23 August 2023, the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency said in a statement. Among the passengers was Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, the agency reported. EPA-EFE/STRINGER

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