Kremlin ally Steven Seagal visits occupied Ukraine to film propaganda

Steven Seagal is once again embracing his role as a Kremlin propagandist. The d-list actor known for 90s action flicks such as Under Siege…

By: Karim Zidan | 10 months ago
Kremlin ally Steven Seagal visits occupied Ukraine to film propaganda
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Steven Seagal is once again embracing his role as a Kremlin propagandist.

The d-list actor known for 90s action flicks such as Under Siege recently traveled to occupied eastern Ukraine, where he visited a prison camp run by Russian-backed separatists and spread Kremlin talking points.

Footage shared by Russian state media showed the 70-year-old standing in what was identified as the wreckage of Ukraine’s Olenivka prison in Donetsk. The prison was the site where an explosion in late July killed approximately 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war in disputed circumstances. Russia accused Ukraine of firing American-made rocket launchers at the prison, while Ukraine insisted that Russia staged an artillery attack to cover up war crimes committed at the prison.

Among the detainees killed in the deadly attack were reportedly members of the far-right Azov regiment who had been captured following the siege of Mariupol.

In the video published by Russian state media, Seagal observed the site and claimed that fragments of American missiles were present in the wreckage, which he argued confirms Ukraine’s involvement in the attack.

“This is where HIMARS hit, 50 people were killed, another 70 were injured,” Seagal said in the video posted to the pro-Kremlin news site TVZVEZDA. “It definitely looks like a rocket. If you look at the burning and other details, of course, it’s not a bomb.”

Seagal went on to claim that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky ordered the attack to “silence a Nazi” held at the prison.

“The interesting thing is that one of the killed Nazis is a Nazi who just started talking a lot about Zelenskyy,” Seagal said, “and that Zelenskyy is responsible for the orders about torture and other atrocities that violate not only the Geneva War Convention, but are also crimes against humanity.”

Seagal, who has Russian heritage, has long been tied to the Kremlin. In 2016, he was awarded Russian citizenship by Vladimir Putin, and was appointed as a special representative in charge of “Russian-US humanitarian ties” two years later. He also played at a concert for pro-Russian separatists in the Crimean peninsula following its annexation.

In 2021, Seagal joined the nominally opposition political party Just Russia for Truth.

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About the author
Karim Zidan
Karim Zidan

Karim Zidan is a investigative reporter and feature writer focusing on the intersection of sports and politics. He has written for BloodyElbow since 2014 and has served as an associate editor since 2016. He also writes for The New York Times and The Guardian. Karim has been invited to speak about his work at numerous universities, including Princeton, and was a panelist at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival and the Oslo Freedom Forum. He also participated in the United Nations counter-terrorism conference in 2021. His reporting on Ramzan Kadyrov’s involvement in MMA, much of which was done for Bloody Elbow, has led to numerous award nominations, and was the basis of an award-winning HBO Real Sports documentary.

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