Is Yevgeny Prigozhin Dead? Wagner Boss Likely Killed or in Prison as Meeting with Putin Was Probably Staged

Putin invited 35 people, including Prigozhin, to the meeting, which reportedly lasted for three hours.

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Wagner mercenary group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led a botched rebellion, is likely dead or jailed and his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin was staged, a former US military senior leader has claimed. Moscow previously said that Putin had a meeting with Prigozhin, five days after Prigozhin allegedly led a rebellion in Russia.

However, retired US General Robert Abrams, an ABC News contributor who previously served as the commander of US Forces Korea, has expressed doubts about the authenticity of this meeting, suggesting that it was likely staged or fabricated. Abrams feels that the entire meeting was staged and Prigozhin was killed long before that.

Killed or in Jail

Yevgeny Prigozhin
Yevgeny Prigozhin Twitter

"My personal assessment is that I doubt we'll see Prigozhin ever again publicly," Abrams told ABC News. "I think he'll either be put in hiding, or sent to prison, or dealt with some other way, but I doubt we'll ever see him again."

When asked about the status of the billionaire businessman who posed a significant threat to Putin's regime, Abrams said that he believes Prigozhin is likely dead. Abrams speculated that if the person in question is still alive, they are probably held captive in a prison somewhere.

"I personally don't think he is, and if he is, he's in a prison somewhere," Abrams said.

Abrams further expressed doubts regarding a meeting that, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, was claimed to have taken place between Putin, Prigozhin, and the senior commanders of Wagner on June 29, shortly after the failed mutiny.

Yevgeny Prigozhin
Yevgeny Prigozhin Twitter

Abrams claimed that the meeting may not have taken place as reported.

"I'd be surprised if we actually see proof of life that Putin met with Prigozhin, and I think it's highly staged," Abrams said.

According to Peskov, Putin invited 35 people, including Prigozhin, to the meeting, which reportedly lasted for three hours. The meeting allegedly involved the presence of other senior members of Putin's administration, such as Viktor Zolotov, the head of the national guard, and Sergei Naryshkin, the boss of the SVR Foreign Intelligence agency.

These details were reported by the French newspaper Liberation.

Counter Claims

Peskov stated that during the meeting, Putin provided his "assessment" of the Wagner Group's involvement in the war in Ukraine, specifically mentioning their role in the capture of the city of Bakhmut.

Yevgeny Prigozhin
Yevgeny Prigozhin has leveled accusations against Russia, claiming that his war camps in Ukraine were bombed. Twitter

Also, Putin reportedly discussed his evaluation of the events that occurred on June 24, referring to the day of the mutiny. The specific details and nature of Putin's assessment were not provided in the given information.

Peskov said, during the meeting, Putin listened to the explanations provided by the commanders and presented them with options for potential future employment and utilization in combat.

"The commanders themselves presented their version of what happened. They stressed that they are staunch supporters and soldiers of the head of state and the commander-in-chief, and also said that they are ready to continue to fight for their homeland," Peskov said. "That is all we can say about this meeting."

Vladimir putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin Twitter

Prigozhin, 62, was engaged in a public feud with top military officials in Russia, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, over the handling of the war in Ukraine.

Prigozhin, along with his fighters, orchestrated a rebellion that resulted in the seizure of the city of Rostov-on-Don.

Prigozhin then ordered his forces to march toward Moscow. However, he abruptly reversed his decision after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko quickly intervened and brokered a ceasefire between Prigozhin and the Kremlin.

According to the agreement, Prigozhin would have avoided treason charges by going into exile in Belarus. However, Lukashenko recently said that Prigozhin has returned to Russia. Flight tracking data indicates that one of Prigozhin's private jets has made several trips between Belarus and Russia since the uprising.

Yevgeny Prigozhin
Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin seen with a sledgehammer Twitter

Reports suggest that Prigozhin was spotted in the Saint Petersburg office of the FSB (Federal Security Service) last week, where he reportedly went to retrieve his confiscated arsenal of weapons, which were seized during a raid on his mansion.

During that period, Prigozhin released an audio message expressing gratitude to those who had supported the Wagner Group's unsuccessful mutiny, which he said was "aimed at fighting traitors and mobilizing our society."

Prigozhin's present whereabouts and future plans remain unknown.