Wagner rebel Yevgeny Prigozhin is either dead or in one of Putin’s gulags after his coup, a former US general has claimed.
Retired General Robert Abrams, who served as commander of US Forces-Korea, said Prigogine was likely dead and would likely never be seen in public again.
He told ABC News: ‘I think he’ll either be hidden away or sent to prison or dealt with in some other way, but I doubt we’ll ever see him again.’
Asked if Prigogine was still alive, Abrams replied: ‘I personally don’t think he is, and if he is, he’s in a prison somewhere.’
Prigogine was one of Putin’s trusted confidants but became a formidable threat when he reached the top with an attempted coup.
The alleged meeting between Putin and Prigogine was then ‘highly staged’, Abrams suggested, adding: ‘I would be surprised if we actually see real life evidence that Putin met Prigogine.’
Wagner rebel Yevgeny Prigogine is either dead or in one of Putin’s gulags, says ex-US general
Retired General Robert Abrams (pictured), who served as commander of US Forces-Korea, said Prigogine was likely dead and doubted he would ever be seen in public again.
The alleged meeting between Putin (pictured) and Prigogine was later ‘extremely staged’, Abrams suggested, adding: ‘I would be surprised if we actually see real life evidence that Putin met Prigogine’
Prigogine reportedly left Russia to live in exile in Belarus after the failed coup last month but has not been seen since.
The leader’s revolt, which began on June 23, was billed as a ‘March for Justice’ aimed at removing Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov from their posts.
Prigogine has clashed with the Russian National Armed Forces throughout the war, while sending his private mercenaries to the frontline to die.
The thrust made rapid progress, captured Rostov and crossed into Russian territory.
Six Russian army helicopters and one plane were reportedly shot down in the clash.
But the uprising did not succeed in its objectives, as Prigogine negotiated peace through Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko before reaching Moscow.
All charges against the leader of the Wagner Group were eventually dropped to allow him to travel to Belarus.
The coup attempt began on June 23 and was withdrawn a day later as Wagner’s troops were on their way to Moscow (Photo: Wagner’s men at Rostov-on-Don on June 24.
Members of the Wagner Group military company guard an area standing in front of a tank on a street in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Saturday, June 24.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of the Wagner Group military company, looks out of a military vehicle on a street in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on June 24, 2023, as he reportedly heads to Belarus
Two weeks ago, Putin reportedly held a secret meeting with Prigogine.
The unannounced meeting took place on June 29 – less than a week after the Wagner uprising – and was attended by about 35 people, including top Kremlin brass and several of Prigozhin’s commanders, the Kremlin acknowledged.
French publication Liberation had previously claimed the meeting had taken place, citing secret service sources, but put the date on July 1.
Since the meeting, Prigogine appears to have remained in Russia rather than being forced into exile in neighboring Belarus as had previously seemed his fate.
This comes after it was revealed yesterday that Prigogine had been treated for stomach cancer and that his illness may have played a role in his decision to launch a coup attempt, a report claimed.
Fighters of the Wagner private mercenary group, including Roman Yamalutdinov (L), leave the headquarters of the Southern Military District to return to base, in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023
Proekt, a Russian outlet now banned by Russia, originally cited claims by Prigozhin’s former employees that he had undergone cancer treatment.
They said that after a long period of ‘severe therapy’, his stomach cancer is now in remission.
A former operative said the move toward Moscow late last month showed the mentality of a man who can’t afford to lose.
Asked what might have prompted the armed uprising, an anonymous source said: ‘It’s a man with his stomach and intestines cut open!’
A former employee said: ‘[Prigozhin] What was cancer now seems to have stopped the tumor making process.’