A new video published by pro-Wagner PMC Telegram channel Grey Zone on Wednesday appears to show Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin claiming to be in Africa shortly before his death.
It is unclear when or where the video was shot, but Prigozhin seems unbothered about his safety and well-being, and tells his audience from a moving vehicle that he is doing fine.
“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, so for those who like to speculate about my elimination, my private life, my work there, or anything else: everything’s fine, as a matter of fact,” he said.
Prigozhin’s words suggest the video could have been recorded on the weekend of August 19. The gear that Prigozhin is wearing resembles what he wore in the only other recent video where he is said to be in Africa, which surfaced on August 21.
CNN has not been able to verify the locations or the dates of either video.
Prigozhin died in a plane crash on August 23 along with nine other passengers while en route to St. Petersburg.
The crash came two months to the day after Prigozhin’s attempted mutiny against Russia’s military leadership.
It is not clear yet what caused the crash, but US and Western intelligence officials that CNN has spoken to believe it was deliberate.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that Russia is considering the possibility of “deliberate” action in its investigation of the plane crash, but it will not make it an international investigation.
Peskov also denied claims that the Kremlin might have been involved in the crash, calling such speculation an “absolute lie.” To date, no evidence has been presented that points to the involvement of the Kremlin or Russian security services in the crash.
Putin, commenting for the first time on the crash, called Prigozhin “talented” but said he had made “serious mistakes in life.” The two have known each other since the early 1990s when they both rose in influence after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russia appears to be now trying to rein in groups like Wagner, with Putin signing a decree ordering that paramilitary fighters swear an oath to the state.
CNN’s Uliana Pavlova, Radina Gigova, Amy Woodyatt, Alex Stambaugh, Katharina Krebs and Heather Chen contributed reporting.