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Russo-Ukrainian war: Russia investigates cause of Prigozhin’s death

A man photographs a memorial to Wagner Group founder Eugene Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, the commander of the mercenary organization, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, on Sunday. (Anastasia Makarycheva/Reuters)

Independent UN investigators will visit Ukraine on Monday as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged human rights violations and abuses committed during the Russian invasion.

Now that the death of Yevgeny Prigojine, the leader of the paramilitary forces of the Wagner Group, in a plane crash near Moscow last week has been confirmed by the Russian investigative commission, the investigation continues to determine the cause of the accident. But Western analysts say the real cause may never be known due to opaque and often politicized investigations in Russia.

Here is the latest news on the war and its repercussions around the world.

Investigators of the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine will visit Kyiv and Uman, among other places, before presenting their findings to UN members within the next two months. The United Nations said investigators are expected to meet with officials, diplomats and civil society groups “to discuss the situation in the country”. This is the commission’s third visit to Ukraine since the start of the war, the UN said, and the visiting members are expected to stay there until Monday, September 4.

The commission concluded that Russia had violated human rights in Ukraine in a previous report to the UN.. The report, dated February to March 2023, and presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council, says the commission has collected evidence showing “that Russian authorities have committed a wide range of violations of international human rights law. of human rights and international humanitarian law in many regions”. of Ukraine and the Russian Federation”, and declared that “many of them constitute war crimes”. He also “documented a small number of violations committed by the Ukrainian armed forces, including probably indiscriminate attacks and two incidents qualified as war crimes”.

Prigozhin’s death was confirmed by DNA tests, This was stated by the Russian Investigative Committee. His investigation confirmed the identity of the 10 people killed in the crash of the Embraer business jet on August 23, including two of Prigojine’s close associates, as well as three crew members. Aviation experts told the Washington Post that the evidence indicates that a mechanical problem or human error was not the cause of the accident, although they said the lack of information made difficult to draw a definitive conclusion.

The Russian investigative commission confirmed on August 27 that the leader of the Wagner group, Eugene Prigojine, had been killed in a plane crash last week near Moscow. (Video: Naomi Schanen/The Washington Post)

A ship left Ukraine through a temporary Black Sea corridor, according to to Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov – the second ship to do so since Russia unilaterally ended a UN-sponsored deal allowing safe passage of Ukrainian grain shipments by sea. Sunday from the port of Odessa, transports steel bound for Africa. The previous vessel that had used the corridor had left the corridor on August 16 with a cargo of grain.

The British Ministry of Defense believes that Russia has canceled a large-scale military exercise “because there are too few troops and equipment available”. Russia organizes the ZAPAD exercise every year, and this exercise is supposed to serve as the “high point of the military training year”. This year, it “should have taken place in September”, but British defense analysts During their Monday intelligence briefing, it was “very likely” that the event was canceled due to the strain the war has put on Russian forces – and possibly because Russian leaders are “sensitive to internal criticisms likely to drive another skillfully presented policy”. [joint strategic exercise] in times of war. »

Two people were killed after a factory was hit by a Russian missile, the acting governor of the Poltava region, Dmytro Lunin, said on Telegram on Monday morning. Ukrainian presidential adviser Andriy Yermak said five people were injured in the strike, adding that the victims were night workers at the factory.

Ukrainian forces took control of the village of Robotyne, in the Zaporizhzia region, said Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar. Maliar said Ukrainian troops were now advancing southeast of Robotyne, which could bring them closer to Tokmak, a Russian-controlled transport and infrastructure hub on the road to Melitopol, whose recapture is a key objective of the Ukrainian counter-offensive. The Washington Post could not independently verify these claims.

Russian air defenses destroyed a drone heading towards Moscow, according to Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. There were no casualties and no damage was reported, he said in a message on Telegram early Monday local time. The Russian Defense Ministry said it shot down two drones dispatched by Ukraine over its Bryansk and Kursk regions the previous evening. La Poste could not independently verify these claims.

Continued popularity of Wagner leader Prigozhin a challenge for Putin: Even dead, Yevgueni Prigojine poses a final challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some Russians have created public memorials for Prigozhin, a public show of affection and support for the late leader of the Wagner Group paramilitary forces who led a short mutiny against the Russian military in June.

While the memorials are far from a national outpouring of grief, they do highlight the necessary balance in the Kremlin to try to manage potential anger among Prigozhin’s supporters, reports Robyn Dixon, the Post’s Moscow bureau chief. The commemorations are taking place amid suspicion among many members of Russia’s elite that Chief Wagner’s death was an assassination ordered by Putin.

David Stern contributed to this report.


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