Ukrainian spy chief Kyrylo Budanov has claimed that there is “no evidence” of death and that the Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin could still be alive.
Vladimir Putin had Prigozhin’s plane blown up in August after his failed coup attempt in Moscow last June.
In October Putin said that the plane blew up amid the detonation of grenades on the aircraft which killed everyone onboard.
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Putin said, “Fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of those killed in the crash.
“There was no external impact on the plane – this is already an established fact.
“Unfortunately, no examination was carried out to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs in the blood of the victims.
“Although we know … that the FSB discovered not only 10bn roubles in cash but also 5kg of cocaine.”
Speaking to the Financial Times on Sunday, Budanov said, “Wagner exists. And speaking of Prigozhin, I wouldn’t be so fast with conclusions.
“I’m not saying that he’s not dead or that he’s dead. I’m saying that there’s not a single piece of evidence that he’s dead.”
Last August a Russian political analyst has said that the Wagner Group chief is in fact “alive and well.”
Dr Valery Solovey who is a former professor at Moscow’s prestigious Institute of International Relations, which trains spies and diplomats as said in a warning to Vladimir Putin that Prigozhin is “preparing for revenge” against the Russian despot.
On Wednesday 23 August Prigozhin’s private jet was “downed” by a missile sanctioned by Putin, but in fact it was the Wagner chiefs body double who was onboard.
Solovey said, “the plane in which Yevgeny Prigozhin was supposed to fly was downed by a Russian air defence system.”
He added, “Prigozhin himself was not on board, his double was flying instead of him.”
Solovey said that top Kremlin officials planned the secret plot to assassinate Prigozhin after his short-lived mutiny against Putin on 23 June.
The assassination was “developed” by Russia’s Security council and Putin personally “sanctioned” this.
Prigozhin is now living somewhere in the world with “£1.6 billion” and Solovey said that this “is more than enough for revenge” against Putin and his regime.
He added, “How did he end up alive while his close people died?
“He intends to take revenge for having been faced with such a choice.
“He intends to take revenge on people who were intending to destroy him, and destroyed people close to him.”