WAGNER rebel Yevgeny Prigozhin is either dead or rotting in a Russian gulag, an ex-general claimed.
The mutinous, balding maniac has not been seen in weeks since his botched coup – and some experts believe reports that he met with Vladimir Putin were “falsified”.
The Russian president reportedly sat down with the Wagner Group boss last month to find out his reasons for his short-lived armed insurgency.
However, a former senior US military leader has now spoken out and cast doubt on the alleged meeting.
Robert Abrams, a retired general who served as commander of US forces in Korea, told ABC News Prigozhin’s future is uncertain.
Abrams said, “My personal assessment is that I doubt we’ll ever see Prigozhin in public again.”
“I think he’s either going into hiding or being sent to jail or being treated in some other way, but I doubt we’ll ever see him again.”
Known as “Putin’s Chef” – Prigozhin was once one of Putin’s confidants but has since posed a significant threat to the despot’s regime.
And many experts have asked if he was alive.
Abrams added, “Personally, I don’t think he is, and if he is, he’s in prison somewhere.”
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Putin met with Prigozhin and his bloodthirsty thugs five days after the aborted mutiny.
However, the retired four-star general expressed doubts about the meeting, which is said to have taken place on June 29.
Abrams said, “I would be surprised if we actually saw evidence that Putin met with Prigozhin, and I think that’s heavily staged.”
Earlier this week, Peskov claimed the Russian leader invited 35 officials to a three-hour meeting, including Prigozhin.
Other top officials were also reportedly present, including Viktor Zolotov, head of the National Guard, and Sergei Naryshkin, head of the SAR’s foreign intelligence service.
During the meeting, Putin reportedly made an “assessment” of the Wagner group’s efforts at Bakhmut, as well as the mutiny.
Peskov also claimed that Putin “listened to the explanations given by the commanders and offered them options for further employment and further engagement in combat.”
Peskov said: “The commanders themselves presented their version of what happened.”
“They stressed that they were loyal supporters and soldiers of the head of state and commander-in-chief, and also said that they were ready to continue fighting for their homeland.
“That’s all we can say about this meeting.”
It comes as Prigozhin led a failed uprising in which his mercenaries took control of the city of Rostov-on-Don.
The 62-year-old then ordered his troops to march towards Moscow, but bizarrely changed his mind after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko negotiated a truce between the mercenary boss and the Kremlin.
According to the agreement, Prigozhin would be spared a charge of treason if he agreed to be exiled to Belarus.
However, Lukashenko now claimed that Prigozhin was back in Russia.
According to flight tracking data, one of his private jets has made multiple flights between Belarus and Russia.
He was reportedly spotted at the FSB’s St Petersburg office last week, picking up his guns, which had been confiscated during a raid on his mansion.
Not long after, Prigozhin released an audio message thanking supporters of the Wagner coup and saying that it was “aimed at fighting traitors and mobilizing our society.”
Prigozhin’s current whereabouts and future plans are unknown.
Some insiders believe the warmonger is seriously ill and that his cancer diagnosis may have been the deciding factor in his coup decision.
While other experts believe that Prigozhin runs with a target on his back.
Mike Pompeo, the former US Secretary of State, told WABC, “I wouldn’t insure his life… Prigozhin obviously took a risk.”
“If you’re going to take on the king, don’t do it with a nerf bat. He did it. It failed.”