In his new role as a spokesman for Vladimir Putin and Russia, Steven Seagal visited the site of a notorious massacre of more than 50 Ukrainians to push the conspiracy that Ukraine committed war crimes against its own citizens.
On July 29th, in Russian-controlled territories of eastern Ukraine, an explosion ripped through the Olenivka detention center, killing 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war died and injuring 70 others. No Russian deaths were reported.
Via Military Times, Seagal’s tour of the wreckage of the Olenivka prison was covered by the Russian outlet TVZVEZDA. In the video, the action star surveyed the damage and held up shrapnel to the cameras. The volume was turned down on his actual words, replaced with a Russian dub.
“It definitely looks like a rocket,” Seagal reportedly said, echoing the Kremlin talking point that a Ukraine-launched, US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, had caused the blast. “If you look at the burning and other details, of course it’s not a bomb… This is where HIMARS hit, 50 people were killed, another 70 were injured.”
Russia has released varying, perhaps even contradictory, reports on Ukraine’s purported reason for the alleged launch. But Kremlin-backed news outlets have often pushed the story that Ukraine was either trying to deter defectors, or killing a high-ranking Ukrainian Nazi who was set to collaborate with Russian investigators.
For its part, Ukraine has cited satellite imagery to accuse Russia of moving the POWs to the site of the blast just days before it happened. Spokespersons for Ukraine have said that Russia set off “a thermobaric explosion” — also called an aerosol bomb or vacuum bomb– “from the inside.” To back up its claim, Ukraine shared satellite photos that show only one building in the complex damaged, and even that was hardly affected on the outside.
Seagal has been a Putin ally for years, receiving a Russian passport in 2016. The next year, he was banned from entering Ukraine as the country labelled him a national security threat. Earlier this year, misinformation on social media suggested the 70-year-old had actually taken up arms against Ukraine, and the rumors were enough to fool Joe Rogan. But he can probably do more damage in front of a camera than holding a gun. Check out video of his visit below.