Russian Separatists Go to Ukraine for Steven Seagal’s Visit

Hollywood actor Steven Seagal visited eastern Ukraine’s Donbass on Tuesday to film a documentary regarding the ongoing war between Moscow and Kyiv. The Moscow Times reported that Denis Pushilin (leader of the “Donetsk People’s Republic(DNR)”), a Russian separatist organization operating in Donbass, made a Telegram statement.

“Steven said that 98% of people who are talking about the conflict in media have never been here [in Donbass]. The world isn’t aware of the truth. He wants to change the perception of this war,” Pushilin wrote in a statement posted on his Telegram channel on August 9.

The Moscow Times described the actor’s trip to Donbass, noting that he had visited Olenivka prison in Ukraine on Tuesday.

“Pro-Kremlin television host Vladimir 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,'” the online newspaper relayed, citing a Telegram post by Soloviev.

The Russian news site TVZVEZDA published video footage of Seagal at the site of Olenivka prison on August 9 in which he is identified as a “special representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Relations between Russia and the U.S.”

Vladimir Putin (left) shakes hands with Steven Seagal after presenting him with a Russian passport during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, on November 25, 2016. (Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Sputnik)

The Olenivka penitentiary exploded under unclear circumstances on July 29 killing an estimated 50 prisoners inside the facility at the time. Moscow and Kyiv have disputed the manner in which the prison exploded, with Russia claiming that “Ukrainian forces used U.S.-made ordnance–a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS–to bring the building down,” the Military Times relayed on August 9 citing the Washington Post.

“The Post stated that images taken during the attack at Olenivka prison were not compatible with HIMARS,” The Miltary Times reported on Tuesday.

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“The experts could not definitively say what caused the damage, but they pointed to a lack of shrapnel marks and craters and only minimal damage to internal walls in the available visuals of the aftermath,” the Washington Post reported on August 6. Instead, they found evidence of an intense fire. This is in contrast to the damage done by HIMARS’ most commonly used warhead .”


Seagal, 70, is an American actor known for his decades-long action film career. Russia’s government granted Seagal Russian citizenship in 2016, making him a dual U.S. and Russian citizen. Seagal, who descends from Russian Jews on his father’s side, has demonstrated public support for the Kremlin in recent years. Moscow has responded to Seagal’s support by assigning him honorary roles, including that of “special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in charge of the Russian-US humanitarian ties” in 2018.

Russia launched its latest war with neighboring Ukraine on February 24. The action occurred three days after the Kremlin announced plans to formally recognize the independence of two Russian-backed separatist states in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region: the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR).

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