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Moscow Declines to Probe Prigozhin Plane Crash Under International Rules – Reuters

The crash site of private business jet owned by Prigozhin. Dmitry Lebedev / Kommersant

Russia will not investigate the plane crash that killed Wagner mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin under international rules, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing Brazil’s aircraft investigation authority.

Brazil’s Center for Research and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents (CENIPA) contacted Russian authorities last week to ask whether they would open a probe into the crash under UN civil aviation rules, according to Reuters.

Russian authorities told CENIPA that they had no plans for such an investigation "at the moment," the Brazilian air authority told Reuters. CENIPA noted that Moscow is "not obliged, only recommended" to conduct the probe under international rules.

But aviation safety experts say Russia's decision to shun offers to conduct a probe together with CENIPA will only fuel speculation of the Kremlin’s involvement in the crash.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has called rumors of possible foul play in Prigozhin’s death an “absolute lie.” 

Prigozhin was among the 10 people on board the Brazilian-made Embraer Legacy 600 jet when it crashed in the Tver region northwest of Moscow last week. Russian authorities confirmed Prigozhin’s death on Sunday.

Russian officials opened their own investigation into air traffic violations after the Aug. 23 crash, but they have otherwise not disclosed details about its possible cause.

Peskov has vowed to publish the results of Russia’s investigation into the incident “when they are ready.”

An internal investigation into the crash will hurt the transparency of Russia’s own probe of Prigozhin’s death, U.S. aviation safety consultant John Cox and ex-U.S. air crash investigator Jeff Guzzetti told Reuters.

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