“Everything is fine,” said the late head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a video recorded days before the private plane he was traveling in crashed, for which some of his supporters and Western politicians blame the Kremlin.
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In it, the mercenary leader addresses speculation about his safety. “For those who are debating whether or not I am alive, how things are going for me, (I will tell you that) it is the weekend, the second half of August 2023, I am in Africa,” he said in a video broadcast by Telegram channels related to Wagner in which he is seen sitting in a camouflage uniform in a military vehicle.
Prigozhin, 62, was secretly buried on Tuesday in his hometown, St. Petersburg, amid tight security measures. According to Reuters, this Thursday the co-founder and military commander of the Russian mercenary group, Dmitri Utkin, 53, who also died in the plane crash, was also buried near Moscow.
“Therefore, to the fans to talk about my elimination, my intimate life, how much I have won or other things, I will tell them that everything is going well,” he added, raising his hand in greeting.
According to the channels that broadcast the video, it was recorded between August 19 and 20, but was not published during Prigozhin’s lifetime, who died on August 23 when the Embraer private plane in which he was traveling crashed about 300 kilometers away. from Moscow.
Days before the accident, Wagner published another video in which Prigozhin reported that he was in Africa. The new video has not been verified by independent media, but Wagner’s boss’s camouflage clothing and hat, as well as the watch on his right hand, match his appearance in that footage released on August 21.
The head of the Russian paramilitary group returned to Russia on the same day of his death, as confirmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.
No progress on the causes of the accident
So far there is no progress in the investigation into the causes of the accident, which Putin described in his message of condolences as an “air disaster.”
The version of a missile launched by mistake by Russian anti-aircraft batteries has not yet disappeared from social networks, although the authorities continue to favor an explosion on board, a technical failure or even a piloting error.
In Moscow, the existence of a Ukrainian or Western black hand does not seem to have materialized, since the incident occurred not far from one of Putin’s main residences.
Of course, the Kremlin categorically rejects the accusations of some Wagner supporters, the opposition in exile and Western politicians that Putin is behind the incident.