A Wagner-affiliated channel on the Telegram messaging app on Thursday published a previously unseen video of Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was buried two days earlier after perishing in a plane crash in northwestern Russia.
“To those who talk about my liquidation, private life and earnings or whatever else, strictly speaking, everything’s alright,” Prigozhin said in the video posted by the Grey Zone Telegram channel.
“For anyone discussing whether I’m alive or not and how I’m doing... it’s a weekend in the second half of August 2023. I’m in Africa,” he adds.
The footage could further fuel rumors that the mercenary leader may not have been killed in the Aug. 23 plane crash and that his death was "staged."
However, the independent Agentstvo outlet notes that Prigozhin was filmed in the same camouflage he was seen wearing in a previous video published by another Wagner-linked Telegram channel on Aug. 21, where he had claimed to be in Africa.
The outlet said Prigozhin’s comments in the latest video likely indicate that it was filmed sometime around Aug. 19-20.
Prigozhin was buried under secrecy in his hometown of St. Petersburg on Tuesday, with access granted to the public the next morning. He was not provided an honorary escort or guard of honor despite being a recipient of the Hero of Russia title.
The Kremlin and Russia’s security services ordered to hold Prigozhin’s funeral in secrecy over fears of attracting crowds of sympathizers that could have triggered protests, two anonymous Russian officials told The Moscow Times Wednesday.
The Kremlin has dismissed as an “absolute lie” suggestions that it orchestrated the crash in revenge for Wagner’s short-lived mutiny two months before Prigozhin’s death in June.
On Wednesday, however, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said investigators are not ruling out that the crash was premeditated.