Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin “must have killed” Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin and has said there can be no peace talks with Putin over Ukraine.
In a Daily Mail opinion piece on Saturday, Johnson speculated about Prigozhin’s last moments, just days after a plane believed to be carrying Wagner’s boss crashed in a field northwest of Moscow while en route to San Petersburg.
It’s not yet clear what caused the plane crash, but American and Western intelligence officials CNN spoke to believe it was deliberate.
“No more than seconds could have passed between the explosion aboard the trusty Embraer Legacy 600 business jet and the moment the Russian thug blacked out in his dizzying acceleration toward the ground; and yet, in that instant I am sure that I knew with perfect clarity what had happened,” Johnson wrote.
“He knew which hidden hand was sending him 28,000 feet down, to be immolated with the rest of his Wagner group comrades in a fireball in the countryside of the Tver region north of Moscow – and then down, of course, for the shadow of Prigozhin: down, down to Hades and the Tatar pit below.
He went on to say that the man allegedly “behind the Prigozhin murder” was “the same man who authorized, for example, the UK poisonings of Alexander Litvinenko and Sergei Skripal.”
“As the detonation sucked the air out of the plane’s cabin, I bet the last thought in the doomed dome of Prigozhin’s skull was ‘Putin!’ preceded by one of the many profanities with which the ex-inmate and car dealer hot dogs was so flowing,” Johnson wrote.
The plane crash believed to have killed Prigozhin came exactly two months after Wagner’s boss launched a brief rebellion in Russia.
Experts have questioned whether the wagnerian group You can survive without Prigozhin.
The Kremlin said on Friday that all necessary examinations, including genetic tests, were being carried out to determine whether Prigozhin died in Wednesday’s crash. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov vehemently denied claims that Russian authorities may have been involved. “This is all an absolute lie,” he stated.
On Thursday, Putin said he had known Prigozhin “for a long time” and called him “a talented man, a talented businessman.”
In his opinion piece, Johnson called it “the height of presumption” that Prigozhin thought Putin would forgive him for challenging his rule.
“As we watch the chilling images of that plane spiraling towards Earth, we are witnessing something historic. It is about the violent liquidation –on television– of his enemies by an existing head of state. I cannot think of another example of such ostentatious and uninhibited savagery by a world leader, not in our lifetimes,” Johnson wrote.
“The mask is now completely off. Putin is exposed as a gangster, and the absurd ‘tribute’ of him being televised to dead Wagnerians comes straight from the pages of ‘The Godfather,’” Johnson concluded.