Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenary group Wagner, died in a plane crash in the Tver region on Wednesday evening, Telegram channels close to the mercenary group announced.
On 24 June, Wagner and Prigojin rebelled against the Russian administration and advanced to Moscow, but withdrew after Belarus intervened, and then crossed into Belarus. Russian President Vladimir Putin had interpreted Wagner's rebellion as a "betrayal".
While Prigozhin's death has not been confirmed by independent sources, Keir Giles, a Russia expert at the UK-based think tank Chatham House, made a very different claim.
"Many people's names were changed to 'Yevgeniy Prigojin' in an attempt to conceal Prigojin's travels," Giles told the BBC, urging caution over developments surrounding the Wagner leader's death.
Giles said that until Prigozhin is proven to be definitely dead, one should wait to make assertive comments, otherwise one would be very surprised if he turned up anywhere in Africa.
In addition, Russian President Vladimir Putin was celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Kursk at the time when Wagner leader Evgeny Prigozhin's plane was shot down. Putin addressed Russian soldiers at the ceremony.
"I thank you for your service, I am proud of you," he said, without commenting on Prigozhin's death.
Wagner leader Evgeny Prigozhin's private jet was shot down by a Russian air defense system half an hour after take-off.
Ten people on board, including Prigozhin, were reported dead.