A new video has surfaced of Yevgeny Prigozhin, where he claims to be in Africa in mid-August.
In it, the Wagner Group leader says he's doing "fine" amid speculation over his wellbeing.
The footage appears to be from just days before Prigozhin died in a plash crash near Moscow.
A newly surfaced video of Yevgeny Prigozhin appears to show the Wagner Group leader crack a joke about his own death just days before he was killed in a plane crash in Russia.
The brief footage, which purports to show Prigozhin traveling in a vehicle somewhere in Africa, was shared to Telegram earlier this week by the Wagner-linked Grey Zone channel and has since spread to other social media sites.
"For those discussing whether I am alive or not and how I am doing: it's the weekend, the second half of August 2023, I am in Africa," Prigozhin said, according to a translation by Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor in Ukraine's internal affairs ministry. "So, fans of discussing my death, intimate life, earnings, etc., I am doing fine."
—Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) August 31, 2023
Neither the location of the footage, nor the date it was captured, could be immediately verified by Insider. But Prigozhin's outfit — which consists of camouflage clothes and a hat, as well as a watch on his right hand — appears to match what he was wearing in another video that was filmed at an undisclosed location in Africa and published by Wagner-affiliated Telegram channels on August 21.
The mercenary organization has footprint in several countries across Africa, where it has been accused of committing various atrocities and widespread human rights violations. Prigozhin's reference to a weekend in the second half of August indicates that the newly surfaced video was likely filmed around August 19 or 20, just days before he died in a plane crash.
On August 23, the Wagner leader was flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg when his business jet crashed, killing all 10 people on board, including Prigozhin, his main associate Dmitry Utkin, and the mercenary group's head of security, Valery Chekalov.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known, and Russia has said that it will investigate all possibilities, including deliberate sabotage.
A Pentagon spokesperson told reporters last week that there was no information to suggest a surface-to-air missile hit the plane, refuting some reports at the time. Many observers, however, suggested that the plane was intentionally downed at the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin as revenge for the Wagner Group's armed rebellion against Russia's military leadership in late June.
The short-lived mutiny — which came after months of rising tensions between Wagner and Moscow — ultimately set in motion a series of high-level purges within the Kremlin. But Prigozhin seemingly escaped the initial chaos without facing harsh blowback, beyond being cast into exile in neighboring Belarus alongside his mercenaries.
CIA Director Bill Burns said in July that Prigozhin will likely face some form of payback, while President Joe Biden joked that the Wagner boss should be careful what he ate. After initial reports of the plane crash surfaced, US officials said it wasn't surprising.
"We all know that the Kremlin has a long history of killing its opponents," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing on Tuesday. "It's pretty evident what happened here. I don't have anything else to say."
Putin did not attend Prigozhin's funeral, which was held at a private cemetery near St. Petersburg, earlier this week.
Read the original article on Business Insider