Prigozhin buried in home town as White House says: It's clear what happened here

Quiet ceremony held for Wagner Group chief who was killed in plane crash

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Yevgeny Prigozhin was buried quietly in a leafy cemetery on the outskirts of St Petersburg on Tuesday, six days after the leader of the mercenary Wagner Group was killed in an unexplained plane crash.

"The farewell to Yevgeny Viktorovich took place in a closed format," Mr Prigozhin's press service said in a short post on Telegram.

"Those who wish to say goodbye may visit Porokhovskoye cemetery."

The Wagner Group fought on the frontlines of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Prigozhin died alongside his second-in-command, Dmitry Utkin, logistics chief Valery Chekalov, and four bodyguards when his Embraer Legacy 600 private jet crashed north of Moscow on August 23.

His death came two months to the day after leading the Wagner Group in a brief mutiny against the defence establishment, which posed the biggest challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin's rule since he rose to power in 1999.

Reuters photos and video late on Tuesday showed Prigozhin's grave strewn with flowers in the wooded cemetery, with a strong presence near by of police officers and members of the Rosgvardiya national guard.

Independent news outlet Agentstvo quoted a cemetery employee as saying only 20 to 30 friends and family had attended the ceremony and that it lasted only 40 minutes.

Chekalov was buried in a separate ceremony in the Severnoye cemetery in St Petersburg.

In Washington, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gave her strongest statement yet about the possibility that the Kremlin directed the killing of Prigozhin.

"We all know that the Kremlin has a long history of killing opponents," she said. "It's very clear what happened here."

In recent days admirers had heaped flowers on makeshift shrines to Prigozhin in Moscow, St Petersburg and elsewhere.

The Kremlin has rejected as an "absolute lie" the suggestion that Mr Putin ordered his death in revenge for the June mutiny.

It said earlier on Tuesday that the President would not attend the funeral.

Updated: August 29, 2023, 9:28 PM