London: A newly-released video of Yevgeny Prigozhin purports to show the Wagner group boss in Africa addressing rumours about his well-being and threats to his life, just days before his death, according to a media report. “For everyone discussing whether I’m alive or not and how I’m doing. It’s currently a weekend in the second half of August 2023. I’m in Africa,” Prigozhin says in the short video published by the Grey Zone Telegram channel that is linked to Wagner group, The Guardian reported.
“So for those who like to speculate about my liquidation, my private life, my work there, or anything else: everything’s fine,” Prigozhin says, the report said. Prigozhin’s camouflage outfit and hat in the clip released on Thursday matched his appearance from a separate video released on August 21, which he also claimed was filmed in Africa.
His “weekend in the second half of August” reference suggests the latest clip must have been made on August 19 or 20, a few days before his death. Prigozhin died when his business jet crashed on August 23, two months after he started an aborted mutiny against Russian military commanders in which his Wagner mercenary troops briefly took control of the southern city of Rostov and advanced towards Moscow.
Weeks before he died, Prigozhin appeared to be in a struggle with Russia’s defence ministry over the future of his business empire in Africa, The Guardian reported. His comments in the video suggest he was aware of the risks to his life. The warlord was known to be preoccupied with his safety, frequently using body doubles and disguises to avoid possible attempts on his life, The Guardian reported.
The Kremlin has denied killing Prigozhin, calling western intelligence assessments of Vladimir Putin’s involvement “an absolute lie”. The Russian authorities said they were investigating the cause of the crash but have yet to offer a possible version of the incident. Earlier this week, Moscow said the crash would not be investigated under international rules.
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