The UK Government is monitoring the situation closely after reports that Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin died in a plane crash.
Russian authorities have said the mercenary chief was on the passenger list of the plane, which crashed more than 60 miles north of Moscow on Wednesday, killing all 10 on board.
Prigozhin mounted a short-lived mutiny against Russia’s military leadership in June, over dissatisfaction about the treatment of his private military company, which has fought alongside Russia’s regular army in Ukraine.
His fate has been the subject of close scrutiny ever since after his apparent exile to Belarus, but reports have suggested he has appeared in Russia in recent months.
Prighozin made his first video appearance following the uprising this week, with the mercenary leader suggesting he was in Africa alongside Wagner fighters.
The private jet carrying three pilots and seven passengers that was travelling from Moscow to St Petersburg went down more than 60 miles north of the capital, according to officials cited by Russia’s state news agency Tass.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are monitoring the situation closely.”