The president of Ukraine has claimed his Russian counterpart killed warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin – a move he said would signal Vladimir Putin’s “weakness”.
Answering a question about the leader of Russia, who ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Volodymyr Zelensky said: “The fact that he killed Prigozhin – at least that’s the information we all have, not any other kind – that also speaks to his rationality, and about the fact that he is weak.”
The Ukrainian president didn’t provide any evidence to back up this claim.
Mr Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenary Wagner Group which staged a mutiny against the Kremlin defence leadership in June, died in a yet unexplained plane crash on August 23.
Aboard his private jet were also Dmitry Utkin and Valery Chekalov, two other key members of Wagner – an organisation UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman recently said will be proscribed as a terrorist group in Britain.
In the wake of the plane crash, many Wagner supporters as well as people in the West – including US President Joe Biden – suggested little happens in Russia without Putin knowing it.
The Kremlin has since slapped down as a “complete lie” the allegation the Kremlin was involved in the crash.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said two days after the incident: “In the West of course this speculation comes from a certain angle. It’s all a complete lie. Of course when we talk about this issue we should be guided only by facts.”