Russia will not probe Prigozhin plane crash under international rules

Russia will not probe Prigozhin plane crash under international rules
# 30 August 2023 12:21 (UTC +04:00)

Russia has informed Brazil's aircraft investigation authority that it will not probe the crash of the Brazilian-made Embraer (EMBR3.SA) jet that killed mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin under international rules "at the moment", the Brazilian agency told Reuters on Tuesday, APA reports.

Prigozhin, two top lieutenants of his Wagner Group and four bodyguards were among 10 people who died when the Embraer Legacy 600 crashed north of Moscow last week.

Brazil's Center for Research and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents (CENIPA), in the interests of improving aviation safety, had said it would join a Russian-led investigation if it were invited and the probe held under international rules.

Russia’s aviation authority was not obligated to say yes to CENIPA, but some former investigators said it should, as the U.S. and other Western governments suspect the Kremlin of being behind the Aug. 23 crash of the Embraer Legacy 600, which has a good safety record.

"They are not obliged, only recommended to do that," CENIPA head Air Brigadier Marcelo Moreno told Reuters after the agency sent an email last week asking Russia whether it would open such a probe.

"But if they say they’ll open the investigation and invite Brazil we will participate from afar."

U.S. aviation safety consultant and former investigator John Cox said an internal Russian investigation would always be questioned without the participation of Brazil, the country where the plane was manufactured.

"I think it’s very sad," Cox said after being told of the Russian response. "I think it hurts the transparency of the Russian investigation."

CENIPA said in an emailed statement it got the response from the Interstate Aviation Committee - Commission on Accident Investigation (IAC) on Tuesday, with the Russian authority saying it would not open for now a probe under Annex 13.