HOLLYWOOD action star and defender of Vladimir Putin Steven Seagal has been pictured visiting a Ukrainian prisoner of war camp where 50 died in a recent explosion.
The actor, 70, was photographed looking through the bars of a prison where Ukrainians are being held by pro-Russian forces.
The martial artist is reportedly filming a documentary about the DonbasCredit: Vladimir Solovyov – Telegram.
Seagal looked through the bars at Ukrainian prisoners of warCredit: Vladimir Solovyov – Telegram.
Hollywood actor Steven Seagal meeting Donetsk People’s Republic leader Denis PushilinCredit: Denis Pushilin
Appearing on the Telegram channel of Russian TV host and Putin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, the US-born actor and martial artist was filmed visiting the camp where at least 50 Ukrainian inmates were killed last month.
Solovyov said Seagal “personally examined the evidence – including the pieces of American rockets – that confirm Kyiv’s links to the mass murder of their own soldiers”.
Seagal, who has long acted as Putin’s puppet and has Russian citizenship, was seen inspecting the Olenivka detention centre in the Donetsk region of Ukraine alongside Denis Pushilin, leader of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic.
Pushilin claimed Seagal was filming a documentary about the Ukraine war.
“Steven said that 98% of people who are talking about the conflict in media have never been here [in Donbas],” Pushilin wrote on Telegram.
He was pictured speaking to prisoners and surveying the damage to the camp, in one image examining shrapnel.
Solovyov added that Seagal “spoke with members of Ukrainian armed groups and asked them uncomfortable questions”.
Last month, the prison was the site of a deadly explosion that killed some 50 Ukrainian inmates, including prisoners of war who had surrendered back in May at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
Kyiv has accused Moscow of massacring the inmates, and the United Nations is investigating the deaths as potential war crimes.
The prison camp, around 12 miles from the city of Donetsk, is said to house some 1,500 fighters from the Azovstal plant.
Ukraine claims that the PoWs were deliberately moved to Olenivka just before the attack, and says that chilling satellite images show what appear to be freshly-dug graves in the weeks leading up to the explosion.
The country’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has called the attack “a deliberate war crime by the Russians”.
Video shown on Russian state TV revealed charred bodies and twisted metal.
Russia for its part has denied the claims and accused Ukrainian forces of being responsible for the blast using a US-supplied rocket launcher.
But experts consulted by The Washington Post say that the evidence doesn’t support Moscow’s assertion that the explosion was caused by the Himars rocket launching system.
Steven said that 98% of people who are talking about the conflict in media have never been here [in Donbas]
Denis PushilinLeader, Donetsk People’s Republic
Russia has so far banned independent investigators from accessing the site.
US intelligence officials have warned Russia is trying to plant false evidence to blame Ukraine for the attack on July 29.
“We anticipate that Russian officials will try to frame the Ukrainian Armed Forces in anticipation of journalists and potential investigators visiting the site of the attack,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
Ukrainian entrepreneur Anna Vorosheva last week told The Guardian she was held in the horror prison for 100 days after being detained in mid-March.
She claimed male prisoners were often dragged from their beds and beaten by prison guards.
“We heard their cries,” she said. “They played loud music to cover the screams.”
She went on: “Investigators would joke about it and ask inmates, ‘What happened to your face?’ The soldier would reply, ‘I fell over’, and they would laugh.”
The 70-year-old was filmed walking around the prison camp where 50 PoWs were killedCredit: Vladimir Solovyov – Telegram.
Olenivka was the site of alleged Russian war crimes last monthCredit: AP
Seagal has long been a prominent supporter of Putin, describing him as a ‘brother’Credit: AFP
Seagal, who starred in 90s action thrillers Hard to Kill and Under Siege, has long held close ties to Vladimir Putin.
His paternal grandparents were both Russian Jewish immigrants and he received his Russian passport personally from Putin in 2016.
Two years later, the Russian president made him Russia’s envoy to the US for humanitarian issues.
The same year, he was also granted citizenship by Serbia, one of Russia’s closest European allies, and met with fellow Putin crony, Belarus’s dictator Victor Lukashenko.
Before the war in Ukraine, Seagal described Putin as “one of the greatest world leaders, if not the greatest world leader, alive today”.
In March this year, the actor visited Moscow for his birthday party, which was attended by a number of Putin’s cronies, many of whom were subject to international sanctions.
Among his other bizarre ties to the country, in 2013, Seagal joined the Russian weapons manufacturer OSIRIS, lobbying the US to ease import restrictions on Russian-made guns and developing his own long-range rifle.
While Seagal has bigged up his links to Putin, describing him as “a brother” in 2014, the Russian president has been far cooler in return.
In 2015, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s [Putin] a big fan [of Seagal], but he’s definitely seen some of his movies.”
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