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WATCH: Wagner supporters pay tribute to mercenary leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin

On Wednesday, a private jet carrying Prigozhin and the top lieutenants of the mercenary group crashed northwest of Moscow, two months after he led an armed rebellion that challenged the authority of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

There is wide speculation that Prigozhin, who is presumed dead, was targeted for the uprising, although the Kremlin has denied involvement.

That crash has raised questions about the future of the Wagner Group without Prigozhin.

Wagner mercenaries were key elements of Russia’s forces in its war in Ukraine, particularly in the long fight to take the city of Bakhmut, the conflict’s most gruelling battle.

Wagner fighters have also played a central role in projecting Russian influence in global trouble spots, first in Africa and then in Syria.