‘The Kremlin Has A Long History Of Killing Its Opponents’: White House Says Its ‘Clear’ What Happened To Prigozhin

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
Font Size:

The White House speculated that the Russian government was behind the apparent assassination of Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, despite remarks from Russian President Vladimir Putin claiming otherwise.

“I don’t have a new assessment for you, but it seems pretty evident what happened here … If this is what it seems to be, this was certainly was not just predictable, but it was predicted,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

“We all know the Kremlin has a long history of killing its opponents,” she added, claiming the incident happened because of the “dysfunction” within Russia.

Prigozhin, the leader of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenary company, was listed as being on an airplane that crashed over Moscow on Wednesday. Russian reports say DNA evidence has confirmed the mercenary leader died in the crash.

In late June, the Wagner Group marched on the Russian capital in what government officials described as a coup attempt. The march ended after Prigozhin struck a deal with Putin. (RELATED: Russian Mercenary Leader Who Attempted Coup Listed As Passenger On Crashed Plane: REPORT)

“So now two months later after he struck that deal, he’s been killed. So it’s very clear, it’s pretty evident what happened here. I don’t have anything else to say,” Jean-Pierre said.

The Kremlin has denied any responsibility for the crash, The Associated Press reported.

TOPSHOT – This photograph taken on August 27, 2023, shows a portrait of late head of Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin displayed at a makeshist memorial in Moscow. The death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Wagner paramilitary group, following a plane crash on August 23, 2023, has been confirmed by formal genetic analysis, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on August 27, 2023. (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP) (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden has also floated the idea that Putin was responsible for the plane crash.

“There’s not much that happens in Russia that Putin’s not behind,” Biden said Thursday as he left a pilates class, noting that he was “not surprised” by the mercenary leader’s death.

“But I don’t know enough to know the answer. I’ve been working out for the last hour and a half,” the president added.