The Telegram channel of Yevgeny Prigozhin says that the plane of the Wagner mercenary chief, in which he was said to have been killed in a crash, was shot down over Russia in a targeted strike.
The aircraft was downed by anti-aircraft defences over the Tver region, the Telegram channel Gray Zone reported, but it cast doubt as to whether Prigozhin had actually died.
Gray Zone wrote that two planes from Wagner’s private mercenary force were in the air at the same time.
The second aircraft turned around on the flight to St. Petersburg and landed at Ostafyevo Airport south of Moscow, Gray Zone said.
Gray Zone questioned the authorities’ version that Prigozhin was on the passenger list of the first plane and was killed.
“Where Yevgeny Prigozhin was in the end, there is no precise information at the moment,” it said.
Russian news agencies said an investigation into the crash was under way.
The mercenary leader was last seen in a video issued on Monday, allegedly from Africa.
Two months ago, he had instigated a mysterious mutiny against the Russian military leadership, an act that President Vladimir Putin described as treason.