The exiled leader of the opposition of Belarus, where some Wagner fighters moved after their short-lived mutiny in Russia, said Wednesday that no Belarusian would miss Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is feared dead in a plane crash.
"The criminal Prigozhin won't be missed in Belarus. He was a murderer and should be remembered as such. His death might dismantle Wagner's presence in Belarus, reducing the threat to our nation and neighbours," Belarusian opposition chief Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said on social media.
The head of the Wagner mercenary group, which in June attempted to topple Russia's military leadership, was on board a plane that crashed on Wednesday, with all passengers killed, Russian officials said.
The crash comes two months after Yevgeny Prigozhin launched a short-lived rebellion -- seen as the biggest challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin's authority since he came to power.
Since then uncertainty has surrounded the fate of Wagner and its controversial chief.
Russia's ministry for emergency situations on Wednesday announced the crash of a private plane travelling between Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
According to preliminary information, all 10 people on board died, including three crew members, the ministry said.
Russia's aviation agency later said the Wagner chief was on board.
"According to the airline, the following passengers were on board the Embraer-135 (EBM-135BJ) aircraft:... Prigozhin, Yevgeny," said Rosaviatsia, which also listed Dmitry Utkin, a shadowy figure who managed Wagner's operations and allegedly served in Russian military intelligence.
Telegram channels linked to Wagner posted footage -- that AFP could not independently confirm -- showing the wreckage of the plane burning in a field.