Steven Seagal has appeared in Russian state media to defend his visit to a prison where Ukrainian POWs were burned alive last month.
The former activist, a Russian citizen since 2016, said he was going to see “proof” of what happened – before repeating the Kremlin’s propaganda that Kiev was to blame.
Seagal, 70 and who also had a brief career in a soul band, further described himself as a “diplomat” and said he is producing an “unbiased” documentary about the war in Ukraine, despite his love and admiration for Vladimir Putin.
Olenivka Prison, in an area of the Donbas occupied by pro-Russian forces, was burned down on July 29 with about 50 Ukrainian POWs killed. Many of them were hero veterans of the battle for Mariupol.
Steven Seagal has come on Russian state television – presenting himself as a ‘diplomat’ – to justify a visit to a Russian POW camp where 50 Ukrainians were burned
Grilled up by Putin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, Seagal echoed Kremlin propaganda that the attack was carried out by Ukraine — saying he was “a billion percent sure.”
Russia says Ukraine ordered and carried out an attack on the prison using US-supplied HIMARS missiles that caused damage behind Putin’s frontline.
Kiev says that’s a lie and Moscow has burned the prison, compared by former inmates to a concentration camp, to hide evidence of torture carried out there.
Western observers and experts agree with Ukraine, saying that images of the warehouse where the prisoners died leave it largely intact after the fire – something they say would not be the case if it were hit by an explosive HIMARS missile.
Beds in the building where Ukrainian prisoners were burned in their sleep are also undisturbed and there is no visible explosion crater.
HIMARS missile fragments shown on Russian state television as “evidence” of the attack could have easily been collected elsewhere on the battlefield and taken to the building, she added.
Meanwhile, other inmates in the camp, who are in contact with families outside the walls, have also made no mention of hearing an incoming missile or explosion.
To disprove that story, Russia sent Seagal to conduct its own inspection — with the “diplomat” concluding that “one billion percent” was HIMARS’ fault.
American actor Steven Seagal stands in the bombed compound where at least 50 Ukrainian prisoners were killed on July 29
Seagal addresses Ukrainian prisoners through metal bars. Seagal Vocally Supported Russia’s Annexation of Crimea in 2014
Seagal, an old friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, examined shrapnel in the city of Olenivka
He told propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, “I know a little bit about these things. I can tell you, a billion percent, it wasn’t a bomb that was going to explode from the ground.
“You could see from the outside where a rocket came from and burned everything.”
Seagal, a martial arts expert and Buddhist who starred in action movies in the 1990s, was devastated when he was accused by multiple female co-stars of sexual assault and assaulting stuntmen on set.
After a brief career in a soul band, he began dealings with Russia around 2014, the last time Putin invaded Ukraine, calling the attack “very reasonable.”
Around the same time, he called Putin “one of the greatest world leaders” and became a Russian citizen two years later.
In 2017, he was banned from Ukraine after he was deemed a “threat to national security” and in 2018 he was made special envoy to Russia by Putin himself to improve ties with the US.
He continued to imitate the Kremlin’s propaganda during the war in Ukraine and now claims to make a balanced documentary about it.
His visit to Olenivka appears to be part of the filmmaking process, with footage pumped by Russian state media showing him examining missile fragments and speaking to prisoners there.
Seagal is known to be friends with several other controversial world leaders, including Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
Russian President Vladimir Putin and American actor Steven Seagal visit a newly built sports complex of the prominent wrestling school Sambo-70 in Moscow
Lukashenko is a close ally of Putin and has repeatedly echoed the Russian president’s sentiments through his invasion of Ukraine, even calling the mass murder of civilians of the Russian army in Bucha Western propaganda.
Seagal has also interacted with the likes of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro and former President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, with whom he practiced karate.
Both Seagal and Putin are avid martial artists – Seagal has been practicing aikido for a long time, while Putin has studied judo and sambo.
Putin was suspended as president of the International Judo Federation several weeks ago in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Seagal was seen in Moscow in April celebrating his 70th birthday rubbing elbows with many of the Russian elite who have been sanctioned by Western countries.
Vladimir Soloviev, a controversial Russian TV host who openly supports Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, stands alongside Seagal.
Seagal tells the crowd in English, “All of you, you are my family and my friends. And I love you all and we stand together through thick and thin.”
On April 10, the day Seagal celebrated his birthday with the Russian elite, the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol said more than 10,000 civilians had died after weeks of Russian bombing and starvation caused by the siege.