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May, 27

Utkin: Dmitri Utkin, Wagner commander who gave the group its name, was among those aboard

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The flight manifest for the plane that crashed north of Moscow on Wednesday contained at least one other notable name in addition to Yevgeny Prigozhin – that of Dmitri Utkin, his longtime lieutenant in leading the Wagner private military company. Wagner emerged during President Putin’s first assault on Ukraine in 2014, when its mercenaries fought alongside pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region. The Wagner commander at that time was Utkin, a retired Russian special forces officer said to be fascinated by Nazi history and culture. The group’s name came from Utkin’s military call sign, which is said to have been taken from the composer Richard Wagner, Hitler’s favourite. Putin awarded Utkin military honours in 2016.





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