Conflicts & War

Prigozhin says ‘everything is alright’ in video recorded before fatal plane crash

Moscow, Aug 31 (EFE).- In a previously unreleased video recorded days before he died in a plane crash, Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is heard saying, “Everything is alright.”

Prigozhin’s Western supporters and politicians have blamed the Kremlin for his mysterious death in a plane crash on Aug.23.

“To those who talk about my liquidation, private life, and earnings or whatever else, strictly speaking, everything is alright,” Prigozhin said in the video published by the Grey Zone, a Wagner-affiliated channel on the Telegram messaging app.

“For anyone discussing whether I am alive or not and how I am doing… it is a weekend in the second half of August 2023. I am in Africa,” he says in the video.

Prigozhin, 62, was secretly buried Tuesday in his hometown of St. Petersburg amid tight security.

According to the broadcasting channel, Prigozhin recorded the video between Aug.19 and 20. But it remained unpublished until after his death.

He died when the Embraer private plane crashed some 300 km from Moscow.

Days before the accident, Wagner published another video in which Prigozhin claimed to be in Africa.

President Vladimir Putin confirmed that the head of the Russian paramilitary group returned to Russia the same day he died.

Despite various speculations, the cause of the plane crash remains unclear.

Some social media networks speculate about a missile mistakenly fired by Russian anti-aircraft batteries.

However, the authorities lean towards possibilities such as an onboard explosion, technical failure, or piloting error.

The Kremlin has categorically rejected the allegations that Putin got him killed.

Meanwhile, Dmitry Utkin, 53, the Wagner commander and co-founder of the Russian mercenary group, who also died in the plane crash along with eight other people, was laid to rest on Moscow outskirts on Thursday.

Utkin, a former Russian military intelligence officer, was the No.2 in the mercenary company. It was his call-sign “Wagner” in GRU, which gave the private army its name.

He held the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Russian military intelligence service.

The private burial ceremony took place under tight security, attended by around 50 individuals.

About 50 people attended the service. The cemetery administration later allowed access to more than a dozen members of the Wagner Group to say goodbye to their commander, an EFE-EPA journalist reported.

Utkin fought in Chechnya, Syria, and Ukraine. He received the title of Hero of Russia.

According to the Moscow media MSK1.RU, his coffin was transported in a van during a ceremony with reduced military honors. FE

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