This video grab taken from handout footage posted in May 2023 shows Yevgeny Prigozhin holding a Russian national flag in front of his soldiers holding the Wagner Group flag in Bakhmut, Ukraine. [AFP]Published On 23 Aug 202323 Aug 2023
A private jet crashed in Russia on August 23, killing all 10 people aboard.
Wagner Group mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was on the passenger list, but it was not immediately clear whether he was on board.
Prigozhin’s fate has been the subject of intense speculation ever since he mounted a short-lived mutiny against Russia’s military leadership in late June.
The Kremlin said the founder of the Wagner private military company, which fought alongside Russia’s regular army in Ukraine, would be exiled to Belarus.
But the mercenary chief has since reportedly popped up in Russia, leading to further questions about his future.
This week, Prigozhin posted his first recruitment video since the mutiny, saying that Wagner is conducting reconnaissance and search activities, and “making Russia even greater on all continents, and Africa even more free”.
Businessman Prigozhin, left, shows Russian President Putin around his factory, which produces school meals, outside St Petersburg, Russia on September 20, 2010. [Sputnik, Kremlin/Pool/AP Photo]In this November 11, 2011 photo, Prigozhin, left, serves food to Putin, centre, during dinner at Prigozhin’s restaurant outside Moscow, Russia. [File: Misha Japaridze/Pool/AP Photo]In this August 9, 2016 photo, Prigozhin gestures as he attends a summit meeting between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Konstantin Palace outside St Petersburg, Russia. [File: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo]This screengrab taken from a video posted on Telegram channel @concordgroup_official on March 3, 2023 shows Prigozhin speaking to the camera from a rooftop at an undisclosed location. Prigozhin declared that his fighters had “practically encircled” Bakhmut. [AFP]This handout video grab – taken from footage posted on April 6, 2023 on the Telegram account of the press service of Concord, a company linked to the chief of Russia’s Wagner Group of mercenaries – shows Prigozhin at a cemetery for fallen PMC Wagner fighters in the settlement of Goryachiy Klyuch in the southern Russian Krasnodar region. [AFP]
Prigozhin addresses the Russian army’s top brass standing in front of Wagner fighters at an undisclosed location in this video grab taken from handout footage posted on May 5, 2023 on the Telegram account of the press service of Concord. [AFP]Prigozhin talks to his fighters in Bakhmut, Ukraine in this video grab taken from May 25, 2023 footage from Concord’s Telegram account. [AFP]Prigozhin leaves a cemetery before the funeral of Russian military blogger Maxim Fomin, widely known by the name Vladlen Tatarsky, who was killed in a bomb attack in a St Petersburg cafe, in Moscow, Russia on April 8, 2023. [Yulia Morozova/Reuters]This video grab taken from handout footage posted on June 24, 2023 on the Telegram channel @razgruzka_vagnera shows Prigozhin (centre) speaking with Lieutenant General Vladimir Alekseyev (right) and Russian Defence Deputy Minister Yunus-Bek Evkurov (left) inside the headquarters of the Russian southern military district in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia. [AFP]Prigozhin gives an address in camouflage and with a weapon in his hands in a desert area at an unknown location, in this still image taken from video possibly shot in Africa and published on August 21, 2023. [Reuters]