Putin’s biggest fan Steven Seagal is pictured at a Russian prison camp in Ukraine days after explosion killed at least 50 despite being banned from the country in 2017 for five years
- Steven Seagal, American actor and Vladimir Putin pal, was pictured at a Russian-controlled prison camp in the
- The prison, in the town of Olenivka, was the site of an explosion that killed at least 50 prisoners on July 29
- Seagal was banned from entering Ukraine for five years in 2017 following the actor accepting a Russia passport
- He has praised Putin and called him ‘one of the greatest world leaders, if not the greatest world leader, alive today’
- Seagal has served Russia’s foreign ministry as ‘special representative’ since 2018
American actor Steven Seagal was pictured visiting a prison camp in Olenivka, Ukraine, a Russian-controlled jail that housed hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners, days after an explosion killed at least 50 people there on July 29.
Seagal can be seen standing inside the wrecked prison and sitting down on a bench examining some shrapnel. There is also a picture of Seagal talking to Ukrainian prisoners through metal bars.
Seagal was banned from entering Ukraine for five years in 2017 after Putin gave him citizenship and personally handed him his Russian passport in 2016, after he vocally supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
He has also praised Putin for being ‘one of the greatest world leaders, if not the greatest world leader, alive today.’
American actor Steven Seagal is seen standing inside the bombed-out compound where at least 50 Ukrainian prisoners were killed on July 29
In February, Seagal told Fox News ‘most of us have friends and family in Russia and Ukraine.’
‘I look at both as one family and really believe it is an outside entity spending huge sums of money on propaganda to provoke the two countries to be at odds with each other,’ he said.
Seagal speaks to Ukrainian prisoners through metal bars. Seagal vocally supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014
Seagal, a longtime friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, examined shrapnel in the town of Olenivka
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and American actor Steven Seagal visit a newly built sports complex of Sambo-70 prominent wrestling school in Moscow
In a statement on the blast, Ukraine’s military said Russia planned ‘the deliberate transfer of fighters to new premises shortly before the explosion’ and cited it as evidence of ‘the planned nature of this crime and its commission by the Russian side.’
Officials in Donetsk People’s Republic, where Olenivka is located, have barred independent investigators from reaching the site.
Ukrainian authorities said prisoners were transferred to a different part of the prison before the attack, indicating that Russia knew of the attack ahead of time.
Moscow claims Ukraine orchestrated the attack with American-made HIMARS missiles to stop Ukrainian prisoners from divulging information, though doubts have been cast over the veracity of the claim.
Seagal’s appearance at the prison appears to be an attempt to further that claim.
The Ukrainian security service said in a 2017 letter Seagal was barred from the country because he was a person ‘committed socially dangerous actions … that contradict the interests of maintaining Ukraine’s security.’
Seagal, who is a well-known supporter of Putin, has served Russia’s foreign ministry as ‘special representative’ since 2018 and is a citizen of Russia, the US and Serbia.
While it is unclear what responsibilities he had in the unpaid role, he admitted the role could ‘change’ due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
‘Relations between the US and Russia, as you know, are very tense,’ he told Russian publication RIA Novosti. ‘There are discussions about how to change my position in terms of what I was previously appointed to.’
Polarizing Russian state television presenter Vladimir Soloviev (L), who has openly backed Putin’s invasion and accused Britain of orchestrating the horrific scenes of civilian massacres in Bucha, can be seen sitting just to the left of Seagal. Margarita Simonyan (R), one of Russia’s leading pro-Kremlin media moguls and editor-in-chief of RT, was also in attendance according to the Financial Times
Seagal has cozied up with controversial leaders all over the world, including here with former president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte
Seagal is known to be friendly with several other controversial world leaders, including Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko
Lukashenko is a close ally of Putin and has repeatedly echoed the Russian president’s sentiments through his invasion of Ukraine, even calling the Russian military’s massacre of civilians in Bucha western propaganda.
Seagal has also mingled 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 is a longtime practitioner of aikido, while Putin has studied judo and sambo.
Putin was suspended as president of the International Judo Federation just weeks ago in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Seagal was spotted celebrating his 70th birthday in Moscow in April, rubbing elbows with many of Russia’s elite who have been sanctioned by western countries.
Vladimir Soloviev, a controversial Russian TV presenter who openly backs Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, can be seen standing with Seagal.
Seagal tells the crowd in English ‘Each and every one of you, you are my family and my friends. And I love all of you and we stand together, through thick and through thin.’
On April 10, the day Seagal celebrated his birthday with Russia’s elite, the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol said more than 10,000 civilians had died after enduring weeks of Russian bombing raids and hunger due to the siege.
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