Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of Wagner, a private military company, has been reportely killed in plane crash.
Ten people were on board the private jet that crashed in the north of Moscow, capital of Russia.
The Russian Civil Aviation Authority said seven passengers and three crew were on board the Embraer aircraft, which was en route from Moscow to St Petersburg.
A journalist in Moscow told Al Jazeera that “reports in the Russian media, unconfirmed so far, are saying this aircraft could have been taken down by air defence systems”.
“Prigozhin was among those on board or was at least listed as among those people on board.
“Some journalists report they’re in touch with his press secretary who is refusing to confirm that. A second jet was also in the air that’s turned around and gone back to St Petersburg.”
Prigozhin shared his first video address since his aborted June mutiny just two days ago.
He appeared to be in Africa in the video, and he also spoke about Russia making the continent “free”.
The video, shared on Telegram channels affiliated with the Wagner Group, was released amid the ongoing fear within Africa on the likely invasion of Niger.
The coupists in Niger had reached out to Russia to assist in the event of a possible clash with ECOWAS troops.