Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said his forces have entered the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don after vowing to topple the top military brass


  • Abrams said Prigozhin's meeting with Putin after the rebellion was likely staged
  • Abrams also said Prigozhin likely won't make any public appearances after the rebellion
  • Prigozhin's wherebouts have been unclear since the failed rebellion against Moscow

A former U.S. Army General this week said he believes Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is now likely dead after launching a failed rebellion against the Russian government in late June.

Speaking with ABC News Live Monday, retired Gen. Robert Abrams said he believes Moscow staged the previous meeting between Prigozhin and President Vladimir Putin. However, he said he doubts Prigozhin will ever make a public appearance again following the rebellion.

"Well, first, I'd be surprised if we actually see proof of life that Putin met with Prigozhin, and I think it's highly staged," the former commander of United States Forces-Korea said.

"My personal assessment is that I doubt we'll see Prigozhin ever again publicly. 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 whether he believes Prigozhin is still alive, Abrams said he believes the Wagner chief is already dead, but added that if he is still alive, he's likely in "prison somewhere."

On June 23, Prigozhin, who is also a longtime ally of Putin, launched an armed rebellion against the Russian Defense Ministry for allegedly bombing Wagner camps in Ukraine, killing several of his fighters.

The armed rebellion ended after Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko brokered a deal that involved the Kremlin dropping all charges against Prigozhin if the Wagner chief is exiled to Belarus.

Since then, Prigozhin's whereabouts have been unclear. Wagner-affiliated planes have been seen flying between Russia and Belarus. Days after the mutiny, Lukashenko said Prigozhin has arrived in Belarus on his private jet. However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov this week said Putin met Prigozhin in Russia on June 29, a day after the Wagner chief supposedly landed in Belarus.

"Indeed, the president had such a meeting, he invited 35 people to it - all the commanders of the detachments and the management of the company, including Prigozhin himself. This meeting took place in the Kremlin on June 29, it lasted almost three hours," Peskov said.

Despite the meeting and media reports that the Wagner chief is back in Russia, there has yet to be visual confirmation that Prigozhin is alive.

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is seen in Bakhmut in May 2023 footage of Concord, a company linked to the Russian mercenary group