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Biden reacts to Wagner leader’s ‘death’, says little happens in Russia without Putin’s involvement

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Biden reacts to Wagner leader’s ‘death’, says little happens in Russia without Putin’s involvement

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United States President Joe Biden says “little happens in Russia without the knowledge of Vladimir Putin”, in reaction to the reported death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group.

Earlier, Russia’s agency for air transport said Prigozhin, leader of the private security outfit, was among the passengers of a flight that crashed and burst into flames immediately on Wednesday.

Speaking with CNN, Biden said he wasn’t surprised that the Russian mercenary may have been targeted.

“You may recall, I was asked about this,” Biden said, referencing comments he made in July in which he said Prighozin should be worried about his safety following the failed mutiny.

“I said I would be careful what I rode in. I don’t know for a fact what happened, but I’m not surprised,” CNN quoted Biden as saying.

The US president added that there is “not much that happens in Russia that Putin is not behind but I don’t know enough to know the answer”.

Adrienne Watson, US national security spokesperson, also reacted to Prigozhin’s speculated death, saying it would not be a surprise given his history with Putin.

“We have seen the reports” of the crash and if confirmed, “no-one should be surprised,” Watson said.

The mercenary leader’s whereabouts had been unclear following his rebellious stint until the news of the plane crash broke.

His last reported location appeared to be in Africa, when he posted his first video address since his uprising in Russia.

In the video, Prigozhin said Wagner was recruiting people, adding that the group would fulfil its commitments of setting Africa free.

The mercenary leader was alluding to his earlier approval of the military coup in Niger Republic.