Fact Check

Recycled Video Does Not Show Wagner Chief Prigozhin's Plane Crash

BBC Verify journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh posted the truth about the dated video after a miscaptioned post received millions of views.

Published Aug 24, 2023

Head of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin left the Southern Military District headquarters on June 24, 2023 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) (Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Image Via Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Claim:
A 79-second video shared by Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, shows the August 2023 crash of the plane allegedly carrying Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.

On Aug. 23, 2023, a plane with 10 passengers aboard, allegedly including the chief of the Wagner Group's mercenary forces, Yevgeny Prigozhin, reportedly crashed just north of Moscow.

Prigozhin made headlines earlier in the year by leading an armed rebellion against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government military forces.

The plane crash was widely seen as an assassination to avenge a mutiny that challenged Putin, The AP reported.

In the hours after the crash, Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, posted a video on X (formerly Twitter) and captioned it with the claim that the clip "allegedly shows the moment of the crash of Prigozhin's plane."

However, this video was not new, as BBC Verify journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh posted:

This clip had been recorded on June 24, nearly two months before Prigozhin's plane went down. At the time, Business Insider reported that the video showed "one of Russia's Il-22M aircraft" falling from the skies "after it was shot down during Wagner's armed uprising."

While this video did not show the plane on which Prigozhin was believed to have perished, another clip reportedly did.

After Gerashchenko's first miscaptioned post, he shared a similar video of a different plane falling from the sky:

According to CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, and The Associated Press, this clip, which was shared by the pro-Wagner Telegram channel Grey Zone, genuinely showed the plane crash of which Prigozhin was believed to be on board.

This story will be updated if more details become available.

Sources

"'CBS Evening News' Full Episode | August 23." YouTube, CBS Evening News, 23 Aug. 2023, www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaiKdHoXHio.

"Fact Check-Video of Plummeting Fiery Plane Predates Prigozhin-Linked Crash." Reuters, 23 Aug. 2023, https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-russia-wagner-idUSL1N3A42QF.

Litvinova, Dasha. "Mercenary Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin Is Presumed Dead in a Plane Crash Outside Moscow." The Associated Press, 23 Aug. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/russia-wagner-prigozhin-jet-crash-a7859e4e57f2efa2547dfbe5bdbaa1b2.

"Mercenary Chief Prigozhin Is Presumed to Have Died in a Plane Crash Seen as the Kremlin's Revenge." The Associated Press, 24 Aug. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/russia-wagner-prigozhin-jet-crash-382515214f691e47daa2e3635d64e612.

"Nightly News Full Broadcast - Aug. 23." YouTube, NBC News, 23 Aug. 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EezHlWS-X5c.

Panella, Chris. "Shocking Images Show the Wreckage of a Russian Il-22 Airborne Command Plane Shot down during the Wagner Revolt." Business Insider, 27 June 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/shocking-images-wrecked-russia-plane-shot-wagner-revolt-2023-6.

@Shayan86. "This Video, Claiming to Show the Deadly Crash of a Plane Carrying Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, Has Been Viewed Nearly a Million Times." X, 23 Aug. 2023, https://twitter.com/Shayan86/status/1694458744556384430.

"Watch World News Tonight with David Muir Season 14 Episode 232 Wed, Aug 23, 2023 Online." ABC.com, 23 Aug. 2023, https://abc.com/shows/world-news-tonight/episode-guide/2023-08/23-wed-aug-23-2023.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.