Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin “must have killed” Wagner boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and that there can be no peace negotiation with Putin on Ukraine.
Writing in a Daily Mail op-ed on Saturday, August 27, Johnson speculated about Prigozhin’s last moments, just days after a plane believed to be carrying the Wagner boss crashed in a field northwest of Moscow while en route to St. Petersburg.
The ex-British PM claimed that the last thought in Prigozhin’s skull was that this must be the Russian President’s ploy. He noted that Prighozin must have hurled profanities against Putin while his aircraft was going down. The plane crash came two months after the Wagner boss staged a brief coup in Russia.
It is not yet proven what caused the plane crash, but US and Western intelligence officials that CNN have spoken to believe it was deliberate.
“It can’t have been more than a few seconds between the explosion aboard the otherwise reliable Embraer Legacy 600 executive jet, and the moment the Russian thug blacked out in his vertiginous acceleration to earth; and yet in that instant I am certain that he knew with perfect clarity what had happened,” Johnson wrote.
“He knew whose hidden hand was sending him 28,000 ft down, to be immolated with the rest of his Wagner group companions in a fireball in the countryside of the Tver region north of Moscow – and then on downwards, of course, for the shade of Prigozhin: down, down to Hades and the Tartarean pit below.”
He went on to say that the man allegedly “behind the killing of Prigozhin” was “the very same man who authorised, for instance, the poisonings in the UK of Alexander Litvinenko and Sergei Skripal.”
We don’t need a crash site investigation. We don’t need anyone to look at the DNA or the dental records, and it is frankly hilarious that a French presidential spokesman should claim that there are ‘reasonable doubts’ about what happened to the plane.
Reasonable doubts? Donnez-moi un break, mon vieux, and tirez l’autre because it’s got bells on.
It doesn’t matter what method was used — whether it was a bomb concealed in a box of vintage wine, a surface-to-air missile, adulterated fuel or a snipped aileron cable.
The whole world knows full well — and is intended to know — that the man behind the killing of Prigozhin and the Wagner group leadership, not to mention the deaths of the crew, is the very same man who authorised, for instance, the poisonings in the UK of Alexander Litvinenko and Sergei Skripal.
“As the detonation sucked the air out of the aircraft’s cabin, I would wager that the last thought in the doomed dome of Prigozhin’s skull was ‘Putin!’, preceded by one of the many profanities in which the former jailbird and hotdog salesman was so fluent,” Johnson wrote.
The plane crash thought to have killed Prigozhin came exactly two months after the Wagner boss launched a short-lived rebellion in Russia.
Experts have questioned whether the Wagner group can survive without Prigozhin.
The Kremlin on Friday said that all necessary examinations, including genetic testing, were underway to determine whether Prigozhin was killed in Wednesday’s crash. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov vehemently denied claims that Russian authorities might have been involved. “All this is an absolute lie,” he said.
On Thursday, Putin said he had known Prigozhin “for a very long time,” and called him “a talented man, a talented businessman.”
In his op-ed, Johnson called it the “height of conceit” for Prigozhin to think Putin would forgive him for contesting his government.
How could it be otherwise? It was mad — in retrospect — for Prigozhin to have believed that Putin would let him live.
The Wagner group leader had humiliated his patron and boss. His men had actually marched on Moscow. Though the Russian media deny it, there seems little doubt that the threat was enough to send Putin scuttling from his own capital.
The Wagner group shot down Russian military planes and helicopters. They killed fellow Russians — IN Russia. They had taken over a key city, Rostov, without firing a shot and with the enthusiastic support of the locals, and as bargaining capital they had a nuclear base.
“As we watch the chilling footage of that plane spiraling to earth, we are witnessing something historic. This is the violent liquidation – on TV – of his enemies by an existing head of state. I cannot think of another example of such ostentatious and uninhibited savagery by a world leader – not in our lifetimes,” Johnson wrote.
“The mask is now fully off. Putin stands exposed as a gangster, and his absurd televised ‘tribute’ to the dead Wagnerites is straight from the pages of ‘The Godfather,’” Johnson said.
Explaining why Ukraine cannot negotiate with Putin over the war, Johnson wrote;
If Putin wins in Ukraine, it would be a disaster for democracy around the world.
If Putin were to win, it would be a vindication of all those who say that you can’t rely on the West, and that they won’t stick with you and see things through.
Above all, a win for Putin would be a moral abomination — the defeat of a free, independent, democratic and entirely innocent country that is being punished by Putin precisely because they chose freedom and democracy.
It must not and will not happen. Yes, the counter-offensive is going more slowly than some would like — but it is making progress; and if this war has taught us anything so far, it is never to underestimate the Ukrainians.
If we had been sensible, and equipped them with what they need earlier in the conflict, they would now be going faster. We must stick with it, give them the necessary tools — and the heroic Ukrainians will do the rest.
Let’s stop obsessing about Putin, and what may or may not happen to him. This isn’t about the future of the tyrant, or some unknowable transformation in the Kremlin. It’s about the liberation of a valiant European country.
And surely to goodness there is one glaringly obvious conclusion from the Luciferian fall of Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Look at that tumbling plane, all you who tell me we can have a negotiated solution, or that we must somehow encourage the Ukrainians to trade land for peace.
Any such trade would be morally nauseating, after the carnage Putin has inflicted. It would be politically impossible for Volodymyr Zelensky to deliver, even if he wanted to.
More importantly, it would be completely and utterly fatuous to put any kind of trust in a deal with Putin — and we have just had the proof.
Prigozhin thought he had guarantees. Prigozhin thought he had sorted it out. Look at that deal now. Look what happened to him. There is only one way forward — defeat for Putin, and victory for Ukraine, as fast as possible